The Last Canyon
AbeBooks Mitglied seit 1996
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AbeBooks Mitglied seit 1996
Titel: The Last Canyon
Verlag: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included
Auflage: 1st Edition
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A novel of one of the most treacherous river expeditions ever undertaken, THE LAST CANYON takes us deep into the heart of the elements, portraying in vivid detail the human quest to understand nature at all costs. In 1869 a one-armed Civil War hero named John Wesley Powell launched four boats on the Green River in Wyoming Territory, undertaking what would be the last major voyage of discovery in American history, through the country's only remaining terra incognita: the remote and barren course of the Colorado River.
At the outset of his journey, Powell believed the inaccessible canyons of the Colorado were uninhabited. He was wrong. What he called "the great unknown" was in fact well known by a band of Paiute Indians who had lived on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for centuries. In John Vernon's hands, the story of Powell's voyage of exploration is two converging stories: that of Powell and his crew, and that of a family of Paiute making their own harrowing circuit of the Grand Canyon in an attempt to rescue a kidnapped girl. Told in alternating chapters, THE LAST CANYON deftly leads us into perilous geographical and emotional territory, culminating in Powell's struggle to finish his voyage with only two boats, not four, and five men out of the original nine.
Powell's adventure is a story of triumph, hardship, bravery, and ultimate tragedy. THE LAST CANYON traces simultaneously a voyage of discovery and a chronicle of loss, an exploration of both unknown land and the unplumbed human spirit.
Late in the spring of 1869, a 35-year-old Civil War veteran and nine companions set forth on a voyage that would take them along much of the length of the Colorado River, beginning in Wyoming and ending below the Grand Canyon. In this novel, John Vernon capably reconstructs their journey, adding dramatic nuance to an expedition that has long engaged historians and biographers.
The bare historical facts are these: John Wesley Powell and his party made their way downriver, bouncing over churning rapids, climbing steep canyon walls, scaling seemingly impassable mountains--hard work, and made more difficult by the fact that Powell had lost his right arm seven years earlier at the Battle of Shiloh. Along the way they gathered information and provisions from local Indians, argued among themselves over how best to proceed, and suffered calamities great and small. The journey ended prematurely four months after it began when three disgruntled members of the party left, only to be murdered in a canyon in southwestern Utah. Vernon elaborates on these data while remaining for the most part true to them. He imagines, for instance, what those over-the-campfire arguments that so divided the party must have been about, giving fire and grit to Major Powell's matter-of-fact journal entries, and he considers the voyage from the point of view of the Ute and Navajo peoples whom Powell and company encountered along the way.
Vernon's dialogues are sometimes a little too neat, their anachronistic language sometimes distracting. But he captures something of Powell's brooding personality as well as the perilous nature of his trailblazing journey "through deep gorges, rushing waters, bottomless silences, tall and craggy cliffs built by artists celestial." --Gregory McNamee
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