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Horizon's West: The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Old Time Radio Show
Jim Hodges Productions

20601 S.E. 74th Street
Newalla, OK 74857

This CD holds 13 half-hour radio shows that document the exploration of America by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The audio files are in an MP3 format, so they will not play on a standard CD player. They will play on your computer, a DVD player, or an MP3-compatible CD player. They will also load nicely on an i-Pod(TM) or MP3 player, or the computer-savvy may convert the files to .wav files so that they will play in a regular CD player. The shows on this CD are not reproductions. They are the actual shows as they originally aired when they were performed for Armed Forces Radio (the CD and website do not give the original dates of the show).

The shows chronologically cover the Lewis and Clark expedition, using a script to re-enact the adventure. The story begins with Mr. Jefferson's first plans to chart and settle the west, and then it continues through how it was arranged, begun, and carried out. Using the actual trip journals for a framework and for basic facts, the radio shows bring to life Indian confrontations, discoveries, horse thieves, and hardships through the use of actors and old-time radio sound effects.

I was interested in this CD because I was looking for products that might enhance our history studies as a multi-age class. It did not quite work for this purpose. This show was far too advanced for my first grader, and a little too much for my 10-year-old daughter. My son (15) and I were able to listen and understand it, and it was mildly entertaining.

As for old time radio shows, I have heard better in terms of production, acting, and engaging/interesting material. While the acting was good, it was not riveting. A lot of the character voices sounded similar, so it was a struggle to keep some of the dialogue and plot straight (not always sure who was saying what to whom!). While this expedition historically was certainly important, eventful, and full of exciting and precarious happenings, that edge-of-your-seat excitement did not come across in this show. What I did appreciate was the historical accuracy. Knowing that the shows were written based on actual historical documentation made it very interesting and brought this story to life for me and gave this product strong educational value. I will admit, this CD is probably the only way I would willingly learn about the Lewis and Clark expedition!

I think this CD would make a fine history supplement if you are studying the Lewis and Clark expedition in-depth--although I feel at $25 it is a bit pricey for just a supplement. If you or your students are history buffs, you would most certainly enjoy this CD for school or for good entertainment, and I'm sure you would find it an excellent addition to your audio library. I would recommend this CD for the junior high age on up. What is very helpful is that you can try it before you buy it. Visit the website to download the first chapter for free!

Product review by Camilla Anderson, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, February 2010

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