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

Stark, Peter

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Documents the 1810 to 1813 expedition, financed by millionaire John Jacob Astor and encouraged by Thomas Jefferson, to establish Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.

Publisher: New York, NY :, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062218292
Characteristics: xv, 366 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations (some color), maps, portraits ;,24 cm


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Feb 13, 2015
  • michaelknowles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Fascinating recount of the dual expeditions mounted with Astor's conciderable finacial backing in the fur trading experience to establish an international business foothold in the ,as yet, unproductive west.
Engrossing updated material that peaked emotion and understanding of the first American attempt to attain 'magnificant destiny.'

Jan 31, 2015
  • InvernessS rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

First off: I did not like the reader - he did not keep the same pace, much of it was too fast. Based on journals of the men involved in this perilous voyage of exploration. IMO it surpasses the account of Lewis & Clark (PBS series excellent.) Many times I thought this can't be fact, as the events seemed so drastic. Powerful account!!

Sep 25, 2014

This riveting history of early Northwest commercial activity is told from the point of view of a modern day business person. Any other perspective would have been less interesting because motive is what captures the tale.The clash of cultures which took place in this narrative is handled deftly. The men and woman portrayed are real life people and we feel for them as they struggle against the incredible landscape, the politics, and the human foibles that interrupted so many dreams. History is always so much more fun than fiction when told so well.

Aug 19, 2014
  • KBesserman rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Great narrative of a part of American history that is not widely known.

Jul 29, 2014
  • LibraryUser53 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An excellent treatment about American businessman J. J. Astor's attempt -- in the early 1800's -- to monetize the Lewis and Clark expedition. Astor believed the key to a very profitable world-wide trading business lay in the Pacific Northwest. The idea was to send boats in a big loop around the world, from NYC to Oregon loaded with items native Americans need; trade that for sea otter furs; trade the furs for porcelain and Chinese artwork in Shanghai; sell the Chinese items in London, and bring the proceeds home to NYC. Astor envisioned a big cash cow each time the loop was completed. The only missing link -- this was in 1810 -- was the lack of a fur trading outpost in Oregon. So Astor took a two prong approach, sending a boat around the tip of South America, and sending an overland party. Let's just say it was a good idea in principle, in practice, not so much. The biggest problem was the leadership styles of the boat and overland captains. The sea captain was the "do it my way or else" kind; the overland captain was an "avoid confrontations" kind of guy. What was needed on both fronts was something in the middle. If Astor had found better leaders, we'd be able to drive from San Francisco to Anchorage Alaska and never leave the USA. But it was not to be. A modern treatment of an American story well known in the 1800's by most everyone then, but now, mostly forgotten. Suspenseful drama on the high seas and on land. Recommended.


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