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Running the Amazon by Joe Kane

Running the Amazon (edition 1990)

by Joe Kane

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258763,591 (4.05)5
Title:Running the Amazon
Authors:Joe Kane
Info:Vintage (1990), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 281 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Non Fiction

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Running the Amazon by Joe Kane



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I closed the book with the feeling of having travelled alonside Kane on the Amazon. I don't usually read real adventure books, and I had only had this feeling before(of having actually done the same travel as the characters/writer) while reading the Lord of the Rings.

A great book. ( )
1 vote kinsey_m | Aug 29, 2012 |
In the late 1980s Joe Kane left San Francisco to join a hare-brained group of kayakers determined to ride from the source to the mouth of the Amazon river. This was hare-brained in a number of ways, mostly because of the unstable nature of the expedition itself. Kane describes his experiences descending the Amazon in the midst of expedition politics, back biting and personal rancor. Surprisingly 2 kayakers (Kane was one) made it. Along the way he describes the land, the people, the discomforts, and threats by terrorists (Shining Path guerillas). He had a very eventful and interesting trip. ( )
1 vote baobab | Oct 9, 2011 |
The author was not experienced with running class 5 or 6 rapids and this trip presented him with real challenges. A disparate group of adventurers set out to run the entire 4200 mile length of the Amazon River. It would be the first expedition to do so. The book covers their conflicts and as the trip unfolds, only the author and his Polish guide, Chmielinski, made it to the Atlantic. I think the author could have concentrated on describing the actual white water experience. He seemed to go off on tangents that made the book bog down for me. It was an OK read, but I have read quite a few other whitewater books that were better. I would try "The Last River" by Todd Balf. For more on pink dolphins, "Journey of the Pink Dolphins" by Sy Montgomery is an excellent read. ( )
  dickcraig | Jan 7, 2010 |
An insane challenge issued, the author accepts an offer to join a kayaking expedition that was determined to be the first to travel the entire distance from the source of the Amazon River high in the Peruvian Andes all the way to Belem, Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean. Kane, the author, was to be the team's documentarian, with an invitation to write up an account of the voyage for publication. He discovers early that this oddly-assembled, multinational group of men and one woman would struggle on the trip, leaving only four of the original team to complete the journey. Instead of observing and logging from the sidelines, Kane becomes an integral part of the team, first as a key member of one of the white water rafts used early on the rivers, and later, as one of two men to complete the trip in kayaks.

Kane's writing is excellent, his narrative very easily read, and the story of their struggles, their interaction with both welcoming and dangerous native populations, and Kane's own soul searching, which included two episodes where he was certain on leaving the expedition only to be drawn back into the quest, made this book tough to put down. My only major complaint is the way the book ends, literally with the first indication that the kayakers had hit the Atlantic, salt water. There is no follow up, no reconcilation of the emotions and struggles, no 'where are they now' sort of summary, just a dead stop once the kayakers had reached their goal. This is sort of a natural end which Kane sets up throughout, but a short epilogue would have been a nice addition to wrap up the narrative. That said, Running was an excellent adventure expedition book that went way beyond kayaking a river. Four stars. ( )
  IslandDave | Mar 15, 2009 |
This was a real modern day adventure story that focused primarily on the action instead of the planning, finances and politics that some adventure novels get bogged down with. The author also teaches you a bit about the different regions they travel through on their trip down the Amazon and you will definately finish the novel more informed than you were when you started it. ( )
  Iudita | Feb 9, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067972902X, Paperback)

In 1985 a team of hand-picked adventurers, including writer Joe Kane, embarked on a journey that would take them to the remote headwaters of the Amazon Basin. But that was just the beginning of the trip. Their goal: to navigate the world's longest river from source to mouth, a feat never before recorded.

After reaching (via a goat trail) a glacial trickle above 17,000 feet--debatably the farthest source of the Amazon--the team descends to a point where kayaks can be deployed. From there the trip entails kayaking through one of the nastiest white-water canyons on the planet, a stretch of water that has previously claimed the lives or quickly halted the plans of all who attempted to conquer it; navigating an unmapped gorge known affectionately as the Abyss; sneaking through the "Red Zone," an area closed to foreigners and occupied by the notorious Shining Path rebels; and, finally, paddling to the Atlantic by sea kayak through 3,000 miles of hot jungle.

Hired initially to chronicle the project from dry land, Kane quickly assumes a more integral role as a much-needed paddler, and as such he is able to provide vivid, first-hand descriptions of the treacherous water encountered. But in many ways the water is the least imposing obstacle to success. Along the way the team is beset by financial difficulties, a crisis of leadership, attacks from armed rebels, and the defection of team members. Kane's account of this six-month ordeal is much more than a travelogue of athletic endeavor--it's a fascinating portrait of the planning, politics, and personal struggles involved in mounting a modern-day expedition through a vast expanse of largely uncharted territory.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:04 -0400)

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On cover: A firsthand account of the only expedition ever to travel the entire 4,200-mile Amazon River from its source high in the Andes to its union with the Atlantic Ocean.

(summary from another edition)

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