Or Perish in the Attempt-The Hardship and Medicine of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was published in 2011 by Bison Books/University of Nebraska Press.( It was originally published in 2002 with a different cover). The book has obtained over 50 reviews on Amazon with over 90% being 5-Star reviews. Click on the link on the right to easily read the reviews.

The book follows the spectacular adventures of Lewis and Clark and The Corps of Discovery through their 28-month trip of over 8000 miles, mostly through the unknown lands of the Louisiana Purchase and beyond to the Pacific coast. There were no doctors on that trip, but there was plenty of injury and disease which the captains had to treat with their nearly non-existent medical knowledge with medications and procedures that were fraught with dangerous side effects and complications. Amazingly, they lost only one man that given the perils of the journey is nearly unimaginable.

Join Dr. Dave Peck as he describes in understandable detail this amazing adventure. Many have said, “This is the best Lewis and Clark book I have ever read”, and “I felt like I went along with them on this journey” after finishing Or Perish.

Drs. Dave and Marti Peck followed up on Or Perish with their much-praised book “So Hard to Die”-A Physician and a Psychologist Explore the Mystery of Meriwether Lewis’s Death. Captain Lewis, co-commander of the Corps of Discovery, returned home from his perilous journey in September of 1806 with every hope as well as his country’s expectations of a bright and productive future. Yet within three years, the 35-year-old Lewis was dead in a lonely inn along the Natchez Trace in rural Tennessee, the victim of two gunshots. Various medical and psychological theories have been proposed by historians and others to account for his mysterious death, which was originally reported as a suicide. The Drs. Peck provide an in-depth analysis of the various theories that still swirl around his death and draw on their professional backgrounds as a physician and a clinical psychologist to vividly and convincingly explain the mystery of Lewis’s death.

Or Perish in the Attempt was produced into a PBS Documentary in 2016, and has aired frequently on Montana PBS. Click here to view the documentary

The Drs. Peck have presented numerous speaking programs on various aspects of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the past 25 years. Venues and reviews of their presentations are listed on the “Interact with Dr. David Peck” tab at the top of this page.

Links to Dr. Dave Peck’s presentations in the Oregon Public Broadcasting’s L & C Bicentennial series, “Unfinished Journey” are found in the right column of this page.

View the Drs. Peck presentation to the Montana Historical Society on “So Hard to Die” below.

Or Perish in the Attempt:
The Hardship and Medicine of the
Lewis and Clark Expedition

Oregon Public Broadcasting
Produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Lewis and Clark College, Unfinished Journey, The Lewis and Clark Expedition is a 13 part series, narrated by Peter Coyote. This landmark series was carried nationally on over 80 NPR stations and covered a diverse number of topics relating to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Dr. Peck was a featured participant in two of the episodes. These episodes are featured here in their entirety for your pleasure, courtesy of Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland Oregon.

Wilderness Medicine

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