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River-Horse (1999)

af William Least Heat-Moon

Serier: Travel Trilogy (3)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
892817,667 (3.63)26
In this abridgement of River-Horse, the pre-eminent chronicler of American back roads -- who has given us the classics Blue Highways and Prairyerth -- recounts his singular voyage through American waters from sea to sea. Along the route, he offers a lyrical and ceaselessly fascinating shipboard perspective on the country and its rivers, lakes, canals, and landscapes. Brimming with history, drama, and wisdom, River-Horse belongs in the pantheon of American travel literature. In his most ambitious journey ever, Heat-Moon sets off aboard a small boat he named Nikawa ("river horse" in Osage) from the Atlantic at New York Harbor in hopes of entering the Pacific near Astoria, Oregon. He and his companion, Pilotis, struggle to cover some five thousand watery miles -- more than any other cross-country river traveler has ever managed -- often following in the wakes of our most famous explores, from Henry Hudson to Lewis and Clark. En route, the voyagers confront massive floods, submerged rocks, dangerous weather, and their own doubts about whether they can complete the trip. But the hard days yield up incomparable pleasures: strangers generous with help and eccentric tales, landscapes unchanged since Sacagawea saw them, riverscapes flowing with a lively past, and the growing belief that efforts to protect our lands and waters are beginning to pay off. And, throughout its course, the expedition enjoys coincidences so breathtaking as to suggest the intervention of a divine and witty Providence. Teeming with humanity and high adventure, Heat-Moon's account is an unsentimental and original arteriogram of our nation at the edge of the Millennium.… (mere)
  1. 00
    A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail af Bill Bryson (yonderjack)
  2. 00
    Along the Edge of America af Peter Jenkins (John_Vaughan)
  3. 00
    Afloat on the Ohio An Historical Pilgrimage of a Thousand Miles in a Skiff, from Redstone to Cairo af Reuben Gold Thwaites (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    Old Glory : A Voyage Down the Mississippi af Jonathan Raban (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: While these two journey are opposite in compass headings (Least Heat Moon from East to West and Raban from North to South) they share the sheer joy of the trips and the awesome detailing and description of places and peoples.
Indlæser...

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Viser 1-5 af 8 (næste | vis alle)
I liked the idea of the book, and the author is a good storyteller, but I have to admit, two thirds of the way through I was suffering from river-story fatigue. The chapter-a-day thing eventually started wearing me down, and indeed the author admits as much when he condenses two longer runs into little more than slightly cooked notes which are much less engaging than the rest of the story. One more quibble, the author seems to have a love of obscure words--I don't remember ever having to look up so many in a non-technical book. The ending is, to put it mildly, anticlimactic. It may just be that I found the story too long and too repetitive. I stuck with it stubbornly to the end, as did the author, and I certainly learned a lot about American rivers. Have a book of his shorter pieces,"Here,There,Elsewhere," which I will give a try. Haven't read the book he's famous for but it's on my list too. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Sep 28, 2020 |
An uncommon journey, but an intriguing one. I enjoy all of the references to other authors/philosophers along the way. ( )
  Nero56 | Apr 7, 2015 |
Pretty good travel story...but it dragged a bit in spots. The best parts were the descriptions of the 'characters' they met along the way. All things considered, I like BLUE HIGHWAYS a bit more!. ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Sep 22, 2014 |
This was a chance find in a secondhand bookshop: I didn't know anything about the author, but the idea of travelling across the USA by boat sounded daft enough to make an interesting book, so I thought I'd give it a try. It turns out that William Least Heat Moon is a Great American Individualist in everything including his prose style. He specialises in recycling old words that have lain forgotten in lexicographers’ junk bins since the last time a Victorian poet needed them to make a line scan or an eighteenth-century geographer lost for an English term copied them from a French gazetteer. And he has a very particular way of getting syntax into a state where it always looks subtly wrong, but you can never quite put your finger on why. Apparently he is or was an English professor, which probably explains a lot.

The odd thing is that his strange way of writing, so irritating when you first encounter it, seems to grow on you: after the first three or four chapters, I was really enjoying it. Technically it's terrible, but it has such warmth and energy and personality that, whilst you wouldn't want to play Scrabble with him, you do rather get to like the author, groaning bad-pun-style whenever he comes up with a ridiculously obscure way of saying something very simple.

The boat-trip is quite fun too, and WLHM’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the geography and history of the USA combines very well with his sharp eye for the damage that people have done to its “wilderness” environments. ( )
1 stem thorold | May 16, 2014 |
I have lived within 25 miles of the Missouri River most of my life -- from Montana to Missouri to North Dakota. Much of the author's water voyage was spent on the Missouri in places that are familiar to me. This is a great read by a writer with a marvelous vocabularly. Keep a dictionary at hand -- chances are you will need it! A great book for word lovers. ( )
  marleneanderson | Nov 13, 2008 |
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My Lotic Mates

Without a copilot, there would have been no voyage,
and so this book is for Pilotis who was these seven:
Motier Duquince Davis, Robert McClure Lindholm,
Linda Jane Barton, Jack David LaZebnik,
Peter King Lourie, Robert Scott
Buchanan,
Steven Edward Ratiner.
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If you want the specifications: she was made of fiberglass laminate over an end-grain balsa core two inches thick, with a flat hull aft a V-shaped bow; just under twenty-two feet long and about eight in beam, approximately seventeen hundred pounds empty, with an eight-inch minimum draft and about thirty inches when motored and loaded; called a C-Dory and built near Seattle in January 1995.
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In this abridgement of River-Horse, the pre-eminent chronicler of American back roads -- who has given us the classics Blue Highways and Prairyerth -- recounts his singular voyage through American waters from sea to sea. Along the route, he offers a lyrical and ceaselessly fascinating shipboard perspective on the country and its rivers, lakes, canals, and landscapes. Brimming with history, drama, and wisdom, River-Horse belongs in the pantheon of American travel literature. In his most ambitious journey ever, Heat-Moon sets off aboard a small boat he named Nikawa ("river horse" in Osage) from the Atlantic at New York Harbor in hopes of entering the Pacific near Astoria, Oregon. He and his companion, Pilotis, struggle to cover some five thousand watery miles -- more than any other cross-country river traveler has ever managed -- often following in the wakes of our most famous explores, from Henry Hudson to Lewis and Clark. En route, the voyagers confront massive floods, submerged rocks, dangerous weather, and their own doubts about whether they can complete the trip. But the hard days yield up incomparable pleasures: strangers generous with help and eccentric tales, landscapes unchanged since Sacagawea saw them, riverscapes flowing with a lively past, and the growing belief that efforts to protect our lands and waters are beginning to pay off. And, throughout its course, the expedition enjoys coincidences so breathtaking as to suggest the intervention of a divine and witty Providence. Teeming with humanity and high adventure, Heat-Moon's account is an unsentimental and original arteriogram of our nation at the edge of the Millennium.

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