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Coldhearted River: A Canoe Odyssey Down the Cumberland (Outdoor Tennessee Series) Paperback – May 30, 2006


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Coldhearted River: A Canoe Odyssey Down the Cumberland (Outdoor Tennessee Series) + Paddling The Tennessee River: A Voyage On Easy Water (Outdoor Tennessee Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: Outdoor Tennessee Series
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Tennessee Press; 1 edition (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572335300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572335301
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,448,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Coldhearted River is a masterful union of Kim Trevathan's insatiable wanderlust and powerful writing, coupled with Randy Russell's compelling photography. Get set for a 696-mile lesson in nature studies, American history, social customs, meteorology, and outdoor adventure."

Sam Venable
Columnist, Knoxville News-Sentinel

"Trevathan slices deep into the heart of the Cumberland River. From the gunwales of Trevathan's canoe, we learn much about the natural and human history that courses through Tennessee and Kentucky. Coldhearted River is a worthwhile read for anyone in love with water--moving or still--and the lure of adventure."

David Brill
Author of Desire and Ice: A Search for Perspective Atop Denali

About the Author

Kim Trevathan is instructor of writing/communication at Maryville College. He is also author of Paddling the Tennessee River: A Voyage on Easy Water.

More About the Author

I live in Maryville, Tennessee and teach creative writing, journalism, and literature at Maryville College. My third book, "Liminal Zones: Where Lakes End and Rivers Begin," was published in May 2013 (University of Tennessee Press). In it I embark alone (until the last few chapters) upon a series of upstream quests on lakes to the place where the rivers that feed them reassert their current, what I call liminal zones, transitional places that are sometimes strangely beautiful, offering contrasts between the artificial (dammed lakes) and the natural (free-flowing rivers). I include several lakes and rivers in the southeast, including the Tellico, Lake Cumberland/the Big South Fork, Summersville Lake/the Gauley, Waterville Lake/the Pigeon, and Fontana Lake/the Nantahala, but I also travel on waters across the country, including Oregon's Rogue River (where I nearly drowned), Colorado's Dolores River, Indiana's Tippecanoe, Montana's Clearwater, and Missouri's James. In the book I'm interested in documenting the visible differences between still water and moving water, including how each affects us differently, and I also explore landscape aesthetics, investigating, for example, why we preserve and protect some places and allow others to be developed. What is it about those places that seem to inspire us spiritually, that make us want to return to them repeatedly?
Here's an excerpt from a recent review by Ralph Bowden: ""Trevathan chronicles his kayak and canoe journeys upstream from flatwater, current-less lakes and reservoirs to places where rivers rise above the flooding and come alive. It's an elastic theme, allowing Trevathan, an assistant professor of writing at Maryville College, to range over a variety of writing types, from a straightforward, journal-style narrative to passages of both lyrical and gritty description, not only of the landscape but also of the people he encounters: campers, fishermen, river guides, and bystanders."

My second book, "Coldhearted River: A Canoe Odyssey Down the Cumberland," was published by the University of Tennessee Press in May 2006. It tells the story of my 700-mile trip from Harlan, Kentucky, through Nashville, to the Ohio River in Western Kentucky. Photographer Randy Russell accompanied me in the bow of the canoe and received much criticism from the stern concerning his paddling technique and his off-key singing of 'today's country' songs. His photographs, however, were excellent. My first book, "Paddling the Tennessee River: A Voyage on Easy Water," was published by UT Press in 2001. It recounts another ill-advised canoe trip, this one down a 652-mile river whose current had been stilled by TVA's nine dams, resulting in canoe-unfriendly lakes turbulent with the wakes of cabin cruisers, jet skis, and supercharged bass boats. I took along my unsuspecting but loyal dog, Jasper, for company and protection.
I have published fiction in New Millennium Writings (winner of the Spring 1999 contest), the Texas Review, New Delta Review, the Distillery, and the anthology, "Walking on Water and Other Stories." I have published essays in The Distillery, The Florida Review, the KWG anothology "Migrants and Stowaways," Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, and Under the Sun.
I spent much of my youth traveling from university to university to see the country and avoid getting a real job. I have a masters degree in English from the University of Illinois; a masters in journalism from the University of Wyoming; and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama.
When I'm not writing or teaching, I like to canoe, hike, play tennis, and nap.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bukhtan on November 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
Mr. Trevathan's story of his trip down the Cumberland from the coal country of Harlan to the river's confluence with the Ohio nearly 700 miles away should be of interest to anyone who knows and cares about the rivers of the Upper South. In diary-like detail, the author describes his experiences navigating the minor shoals of what's left of the live river (this is no whitewater book) and the wind- and jetski-tormented impoundments that are now characteristic of most larger Southern rivers. He tells us what he thinks as well as what he sees, without ever wandering too far from the subject under his canoe, the Cumberland River.

There is no point in pretending that the Cumberland hasn't suffered severe ecological damage, and Mr. Trevathan does not. We hear about mountains of rubbish beside the river, trash in the trees, cars half-sunk in the river, and worse. In a pathetic attempt to reduce the filth tourists see at Cumberland Falls, the State of Kentucky has installed trash-racks upstream. (On the early Spring day I visited the Falls, there was a thick cloud of smoke hanging over the River, as if from a house on fire. It turned out that the State was burning off the massive deverticulations of plastic etc that had collected over the Winter in the eddies beneath the Falls.) Imagine swimming through this stuff! But one of Mr. Trevathan's predecessors on the river did just that, in order to publicize the mistreatment of the Cumberland.

The author has quite a lot to say about the human environment as well. Anyone who travels the South by water or foot, not safely enclosed in the All-American automobile, will encounter an extra measure of churlishness and perhaps worse.
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I love being out on the river kayaking and fishing. During the winter I am not able to get out as much, if any. This book allowed me to explore the Cumberland River vicariously from its head waters to the Ohio River. Kim gives a fun read about the ordeals of an "outdated" form of travel on the river. The book covers the people on the river, the history of the river, and the effects of damming the river. His reflections on the human relationship to the river are interesting.
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