Throne of Grace

Throne of Grace by Tom Clavin and Bob Drury

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Throne of Grace:

Life without a map.

Quick synopsis:

The story of one of America’s forgotten explorers, Jedediah Smith.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

Arithmetic used to be called ciphering in schools.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Between 1700 and 1822, European markets purchased nearly forty million pieces of beaver headgear.

My Take on Throne of Grace:

Up until now, every book I have read by Tom Clavin and Bob Drury has received my hearty approval. That streak will not end with Throne of Grace. Drury and Clavin have mastered the ability to make a history book sound like a story you hear from a long-lost friend at the bar. There is a ton of characters, dramatic twists, and more than a few laughs.

Throne of Grace tells the story of the first forays of Americans into what would become the Wild West and the West Coast. Specifically, the story tries to center around one Jedediah Smith. As you may have guessed from the first name, he grew up religious and stayed that way. Somehow, he still answered the call to explore the west. As with any Clavin and Drury book though, it would be a bit misleading to say this book is about one person. The authors love to pepper their books with quick asides about side characters and will tell a great tall tale even if they point out it probably never happened.

This book also displays the authors’ willingness to call out hypocrisy and deploy their sardonic wit. A fur trapper starts spouting off about “savages” killing his friends? Clavin and Drury don’t hesitate to remind the readers of the massacre that man took part in. American Indians confronting explorers about their greed? It will be pointed out that the accuser recently stole 40 horses from a traveling party outside their own territory. None of these people were saints and I appreciate storytellers who don’t shy away from the ugly side of history.

So, as per usual, you should read this. In fact, you can read anything with their names on it.

(This book was provided as an advance reader copy by Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press.)


An eye-opening adventure. Buy it here!

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