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Dear America Wiki

The Journal of Augustus Pelletier: The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as Blazing West, is the ninth book in the My Name Is America series. The book was first published in September 2000 and was written by Kathryn Lasky. It was republished with a new title and cover art in February 2014. The book was followed by The Journal of Otto Peltonen.

Book description[]

"May 13, 1805
I can't quite believe I am all here because it's just short of a miracle that parts of me aren't floating around in the gut of a grizzly bear.... It was the biggest grizzly ever! Least, biggest I'd seen.... it was me who was right in that bear's sights, directly between him and the water.... I almost made it into the canoe but fell into the water.... I took a huge gulp of air and dove. It wasn't that deep and I swear I felt that bear's claw on my moccasin. I scraped my chin on the rocky bottom but I just kept swimming. Go deep! Go deep! The words pounded in my head. Maybe that bear won't smell me if I'm deep.

""I feel pressed in between these cliffs and walls of mountains. It's like a stone coffin."
After his mother dies and his drunken stepfather tries to cut his ear off, fourteen-year-old Augustus Pelletier decides it's time to get out of Missouri. And the lure of adventure with Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery is too tempting to resist. Captains Lewis and Clark are being sent by President Thomas Jefferson to find a water route to the Pacific and explore the uncharted West. Gus sets off just behind the Corps of Discovery, shadowing them for nearly two hundred miles. Once he's discovered, it's too late to turn back. As the expedition continues, they are joined by Sacajawea, daughter of a Shoshone chief, who quickly takes on the role of guide and interpreter. However, the team soon learns that the landscape of America is an unforgiving one where the biggest dangers are the unknown. They must overcome treacherous mountains, wild rapids, dangerous plains, and deadly waterfalls, and endure the harshest of winters and the most sweltering of summers. Will Gus survive the expedition and live to see the Pacific Ocean, or will he make the greatest sacrifice in the name of discovery? In his journal, Gus deftly captures the excitement and terror of what it was like to see the American West in all its wild glory for the first time.



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of The Journal of Augustus Pelletier characters


Main article: Kathryn Lasky

Kathryn Lasky is an American children's author, whom is best known for her Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. The Journal of Augustus Pelletier is Lasky's only entry in My Name Is America. She is also the author of five books in The Royal Diaries, four in Dear America, and three in My America.



  • The portrait on the cover of the first edition is a detail from Winslow Homer's 1891 painting A Huntsman and Dogs. The background is a detail from Albert Bierstadt's 1867 painting Lake in the Sierra Nevada.[4][5][6]
  • The cover of the second edition was illustrated by artist Mike Heath.


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