Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival

Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival

Audio CD(Unabridged)

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Overview

In 1810, John Jacob Astor sent out two advance parties to settle the wild, unclaimed western coast of North America. More than half of his men died violent deaths. The others survived starvation, madness, and greed to shape the destiny of a continent.

At a time when the edge of American settlement barely reached beyond the Appalachian Mountains, two visionaries, President Thomas Jefferson and millionaire John Jacob Astor, foresaw that one day the Pacific would dominate world trade as much as the Atlantic did in their day. Just two years after the Lewis and Clark expedition concluded in 1806, Jefferson and Astor turned their sights westward once again. Thus began one of history's dramatic but largely forgotten turning points in the conquest of the North American continent.

Astoria is the harrowing tale of the quest to settle a Jamestown-like colony on the Pacific coast. Astor set out to establish a global trade network based at the mouth of the Columbia River in what is now Oregon, while Jefferson envisioned a separate democracy on the western coast that would spread eastward to meet the young United States.

Astor backed this ambitious enterprise with the vast for-tune he'd made in the fur trade and in New York real estate since arriving in the United States as a near-penniless immigrant soon after the Revolutionary War. He dispatched two groups of men west: one by sea around the southern tip of South America and one by land over the Rockies. The Overland Party, led by the gentlemanly American businessman Wilson Price Hunt, combined French-Canadian voyageurs, Scottish fur traders, American woodsmen, and an extraordinary Native American woman with two toddlers. The Seagoing Party, sailing aboard the ship Tonquin, likewise was a volatile microcosm of contemporary North America. Under the bitter eye of Captain Jonathan Thorn, a young U.S. naval hero whose unyielding, belligerent nature was better suited to battle than to negotiating cultural differences, the Tonquin made tumultuous progress toward its violent end.

Unfolding from 1810 to 1813, Astoria is a tale of high adventure and incredible hardship, drawing extensively on firsthand accounts of those who made the journey. Though the colony itself would be short-lived, its founders opened provincial American eyes to the remarkable potential of the western coast, discovered the route that became the Oregon Trail, and permanently altered the nation's landscape and global standing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781482992199
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Peter Stark is a historian and adventure writer. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Astoria, along with The Last Empty Spaces, Last Breath, and At the Mercy of the River. He is a correspondent for Outside magazine, has written for Smithsonian and The New Yorker, and is a National Magazine Award nominee. He lives in Montana with his wife and children.


Michael Kramer is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration, and recipient of a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award. He is also an actor and director in the Washington, DC, area, where he is active in the area's theater scene and has appeared in productions at the Shakespeare Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and Theater J.

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Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Drouillard More than 1 year ago
Being an avid reader of this era's history of the American West, I really enjoyed reading a new take on the trials and tribulations of the Astorians. Much detail, but not too much, revealing what really went into the unraveling of John Jacob Astor's "Grand Plan."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! Very well written and laid out. Couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story is too real to not be real - but you keep reading and it just gets more unbelievable! What we did to go to the moon, as explorers, was obviously epic, yet what Stark points out here is sometimes our greatest explorations have happened right here on Earth. You don't have to be a part of the Pacific Northwest to enjoy this fantastic read. You like historic action reads you'll like this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating history of the establishment of Astoria. Well written story of early adventurers and the struggles they encountered as they crossed the unknown western regions of the US to establish world commerce. Excellent profiles of the people who made this trek and how the personalities interacted. I was particularly impressed with the courage and determination of the men...and one woman...who suffered great hardships to realize the vision of John Jacob Astor. Held my interest throughout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the story of the incredible hardships that the men of this journey endured whether by sea or overland. It also shows the arrogance and stupidity of some of the leaders of this expedition. Throw in a little treason and disloyalty thrown in for good measure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not wait to read the next page. Without any question in the top 5 books that I have read on any subject . A must .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was born and raised in the Pacific NW yet never knew this remarkable story. I highly recommend this book ..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Readers of adventure/survival history will love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having+spent+a+night+in+the+YMCA+in+Astoria%2C+due+to+lack+of+availabilty+in+its%27+many+motels%2C+this+book+particularly+intrigued+me.+Beside+the+fascinating+history+the+author%27s+writing+style+made+it+more+a+page+turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good reading..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's decent, but you're just reading along and then all of a sudden- epilogue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tedious read. I lost interest in the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read for history lovers. Non fiction that reads like a novel. I knew nothing of this chapter of American discovery and am happy to have expanded my knowledge. I honestly couldn't put the book down. I cannot fathom the fortitude and bravery of these men (and one woman) who trekked across this country two hundred years ago.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting
Flo04 More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and insightful. Didn't really know much about Astor before reading this book. I grew up on the U.S. West Coast; I don't remember learning in school about much of what is written in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An absolutely absorbing book that was well written about an event I knew nothing about until I read the book. I'm glad I heard about it when we were visiting Astoria, Oregon. I thoroughly enjoyed it..
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dancin with ma milkshake baby