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We all grew up singing about Purple Mountains and Amber Waves of Grain, young second-graders parroting the lauds of our country’s bountiful and multi-faceted geography.  What began as a slim cluster of Eastern colonies would spread like a germ, and the United States would stretch its hungry adventurous eyes all the way across another 3,000 miles of terrain before halting at the gates of the Pacific (at least until Hawaii).  Historian and author, Robert Morgan, tells the story of how the “Shining Seas” came to form the edges of America in his latest book, Lions of the West.        

What is known as “Manifest Destiny” is responsible for the early-American thirst for the next frontier.  An idea born in the mind of Thomas Jefferson, who dreamed of America stretching across the continent, the term, “Manifest Destiny”, was coined in 1845 by John L. O’Sullivan in the July/August 1845 issue of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review.  The expression combined the idea of American expansionism with many other popular ideas of the era, such as Romantic Nationalism, in which the state derives its legitimacy directly from the unity of its people.  Although sometimes called upon to justify motives of a less-than-pure nature (i.e. the dislocation [i.e. screwing] of Native Peoples), the idea of expansionism and “Manifest Destiny” is a thrilling tale – like it or hate it. 

Robert Morgan brings this tale, in all its sordid and gripping splendor, to the pages of his newest book, Lions of the West.  The account begins with Jefferson’s vision and goes on to explore the adventurous souls whose lust for land and intrepid spirits pushed the westward line to the sea.  Morgan, an author of ten other books of biography, history, fiction and poetry, follows the stories of nine pioneering Americans whose tenacity shaped this chapter of our country’s history:  Andrew Jackson, John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman, David Crockett, Sam Houston, James K. Polk, Winfield Scott, Kit Carson, Nicholas Trist and John Quincy Adams.  Using his skills at characterization as well as an arsenal of illustrations, portraits, maps, battle plans, appendixes, notes and time lines, Morgan’s Lions of the West is a commanding biography of America and its foundational players.

Appropriately appearing on Veteran’s Day, don’t miss Morgan at Carmichaels’ Frankfort Avenue location for a round of discussion Destined to be thought-provoking. 

Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations                           1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue

For more information on this event, visit Robert Morgan’s event page or call the Frankfort Avenue store at 896-6950

Photo: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website,

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About Erin Day

I currently spend most of my days sequestered in a dark and secret room projecting IMAX films for an adoring public. In my spare time I read books (a lot) and contemplate ever more devious ways to become a professional Blacksmith. I love words, paper, fashion, trees, Charlie Chaplin, useless knick-knacks and my beloved turquoise 1994 Ford Ranger - Daniel. I totally believe in the Loch Ness Monster. Books are culture; my goal is to tell you a story.

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