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American Slave, American Hero: York of the Lewisand Clark Expedition

The Story Behind The Book

When my book about Seaman--Dog of Discovery--was published, I didn't intend to write again about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Then I gradually became aware that there were at least a half dozen books about the dog, more than a dozen about Sacagawea, and only two about York--William Clark's personal servant. Moreover, one of the two York titles that existed in 2004 had errors, including a featured "event" that never happened. It bothered me that young readers were being mislead about York. (The book, still in print, is My Name is York, by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk. Avoid it!) I decided to write a book about him.

It was wonderful to plunge into research on the expedition again, and to prowl through the Lewis and Clark journals. Once again, Jay Rassmussen was the expert on both my writing and the art. The artists had to re-do several drawings, as Jay pointed out problems with clothing, weapons, landscapes, and so on. But Cornelius Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu responded well, and produced a glorious-looking (and very accurate!) book.