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River-Horse by William Least Heat-Moon
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River-Horse (1999)

by William Least Heat-Moon

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738712,638 (3.69)22
Recently added byjkrzok, Radclyffe, FPLD, dctowne, zanneK, private library, wehume66, maryhollis, actuzla, klinkd
  1. 00
    A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (yonderjack)
  2. 00
    Along the Edge of America by Peter Jenkins (John_Vaughan)
  3. 00
    Afloat on the Ohio ; an historical pilgrimage of a thousand miles in a skiff, from Redstone to Cairo by Reuben Gold Thwaites (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    Old Glory : A Voyage Down the Mississippi by 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.
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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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 vote 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 |
E recommended this for me.
  sonyagreen | May 21, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140298606, Paperback)

Since hitting the American roads in Blue Highways nearly 20 years ago, William Least Heat-Moon has been following another calling--to traverse America by its rivers. "I wanted to see those secret parts hidden from road travelers," he writes. And from the waterways of his 5,000-mile voyage, Least Heat-Moon shares a sharp and stirring vision of America. Filling a small bottle with brine from the Atlantic Ocean, Least Heat-Moon and his wise companion, whom he calls "Pilotis," start up the Hudson River in a 22-foot C-Dory that Least Heat-Moon has named Nikawa--from the Osage words ni for river and kawa for horse. The voyage--from New York harbor to the Pacific Ocean--packs surprises, wisdom, regrets, mishaps, candor, and conversations that readers who savored Blue Highways and PrairyErth will delight in.

The impetus for River Horse is one of intrigue--less urgent than the departure in Blue Highways--and the narrative possesses a captivating pull as it courses westward through the strongest currents and pauses in the back eddies of contemporary American life. Least Heat-Moon is in his element. Written in short thematic chapters, River Horse plies canals, greets the Missouri's many moods, and challenges chaotic waves. Indeed, the turbulent and placid waters of America flow throughout this well-told story. When Nikawa finally reaches the Pacific Ocean, Least Heat-Moon has discovered a new America in the country he knows so well. He ponders the command that rivers hold on him and celebrates the national treasures that they are. Exceeding 500 pages, River Horse may be a long journey, but when traveling by rivers, America is a larger country. A triumphant book all the way to the salty Pacific. --Byron Ricks

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:57 -0400)

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The author sets out from New York City to sail his boat across the United States.

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