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River Horse

In RIVER-HORSE, the preeminent chronicler of American back roads -- who has given us the classics BLUE HIGHWAYS and PRAIRYERTH -- recounts his singular voyage on American waters from sea to sea. Along the route, he offers a lyrical and ceaselessly fascinating shipboard perspective on the country's rivers, lakes, canals, and towns. Brimming with history, drama, humor, 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 explorers, 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. Masterly in its own right, RIVER-HORSE, when taken with BLUE HIGHWAYS and PRAIRYERTH, forms the capstone of a peerless and timeless trilogy.
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..".His prose is straightforward and folksy, reminiscent of Twain and Melville.... [and t]here is a timeless quality to Heat-Moon's stories, all remarkably spellbinding and enchanting. An excellent book." Booklist, ALA "His expertise gained from years of reading and travel along these rivers shines through...."River-Horse" is an adventure, a unique, colorful, and provocative river voyage." Christian Science Monitor "A coast-to-coast journey by way of great rivers, conducted by a contemporary master of travel writing.... Writing with an eye for local color and little-examined history (and sneaking in a pages-long sentence worthy of James Joyce in the bargain), Least Heat-Moon turns in a stirring narrative of a journey into landscapes few have seen...Vintage Least Heat-Moon, radiant with intelligence and masterful storytelling." Kirkus Reviews "In his favor, Least Heat-Moon is richly prepared for encounters with America's heritage. From all the research, he skillfully delivers bon mots of our past that are endlessly interesting, if seldom connected, a kind of riverbank almanac that reminds us what the writer can do to paint detail in the background of a scene." The Los Angeles Times ..".Heat-Moon has a serendipitous knack of encountering engaging characters... "; "Heat-Moon is at his descriptive best when he is peering neither fore nor aft but over the gunwales into the water that draws him toward the setting sun... "; "So we all of us are in splendid good luck. All aboard! The skipper is going our way." The Washington Post "This time [Heat Moon] voyages across the country, from Atlantic to Pacific, almost entirely by its rivers, lakes and canals in a small outboard-powered boat, a bold and epic notion that should excite any armchair traveler." The San Francisco Chronicle

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