The Making of John Ledyard: Empire and Ambition in the Life of an Early American Traveler

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Yale University Press, 1. okt 2008 - 224 pages
During the course of his short but extraordinary life, John Ledyard (1751–1789) came in contact with some of the most remarkable figures of his era: the British explorer Captain James Cook, American financier Robert Morris, Revolutionary naval commander John Paul Jones, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and others. Ledyard lived and traveled in remarkable places as well, journeying from the New England backcountry to Tahiti, Hawaii, the American Northwest coast, Alaska, and the Russian Far East. In this engaging biography, the historian Edward Gray offers not only a full account of Ledyard’s eventful life but also an illuminating view of the late eighteenth-century world in which he lived.
Ledyard was both a product of empire and an agent in its creation, Gray shows, and through this adventurer’s life it is possible to discern the many ways empire shaped the lives of nations, peoples, and individuals in the era of the American Revolution, the world’s first modern revolt against empire.

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A Note on Quotations
I A Colonial Childhood
II On Stage at Dartmouth College
III Serving Captain Cook with Honor
IV Seeking Distinction with the Pen Aboard the Resolution
V Following the Revolution Home
VII Becoming a Traveler in Thomas Jeffersons Paris
VIII Across the Russian Empire
IX Despotism and Human Nature in Catherine IIs Russia
X To Africa
Memories of the Traveler

VI From Author to Fur Trader

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About the author (2008)

Edward Gray is associate professor of history, Florida State University. He is the author or coeditor of three previous books and editor of Common-place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life ( He lives in Tallahassee.

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