New York Times bestseller: “A coast-to-coast journey by way of great rivers, conducted by a contemporary master of travel writing” (Kirkus Reviews).
In this memoir brimming with history, humor, and wisdom, the author of Blue Highways and PrairyErth “voyages across the country, from Atlantic to Pacific, almost entirely by its rivers, lakes and canals in a small outboard-powered boat” (San Francisco Chronicle).
Setting off from New York Harbor aboard the boat he named Nikawa (“river horse” in Osage), in hopes of entering the Pacific near Astoria, Oregon, William Least Heat-Moon 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 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.
“Fizzes with intelligence and high spirits.” —Outside
“Propels the reader with historical vignettes, ecological and geological detail, and often hilarious encounters with local eccentrics.” —Time