Books: Lewisicma

MERIWETHER LEWIS by Richard Dillon. 364 pages. Coward-McCann. $6.95.

It began with the biggest real-estate deal in history. On April 30, 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte sold Thomas Jefferson a parcel of land called Louisiana. It ran from the Mississippi to the Rockies, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and it was quite a bargain: 827,987 sq. mi. for $15 million. But what the U.S. owned it did not occupy. Already British traders were pressing south from Canada and Spanish raiders were roaming north from Mexico. Jefferson realized that he would have to move fast...

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