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Goodbye to a River: A Narrative Paperback – July 9, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375727787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375727788
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Graves’s writing is invaluable. . . . The reader who misses Graves will have missed much.” --Larry McMurtry

“As you read, you have the feeling that the whole colorful, brutal tapestry of the Lone Star State is being unrolled for you out of the biography of this one stream.” —The Atlantic Monthly

“Graves’ originality and flair turn this local scene and regional lore into an hoest and powerfully evocative picture of frontier life anywhere.” —The Chicago Sunday Tribune

“One of the most pleasing books I’ve ever read. I love the way it weaves together remote history, not so remote history, present events, and landscape.”—Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

From the Publisher

7 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

A great book that deserves to be read much more widely than it is.
Amazon Customer
And although I've never been to that part of Texas, I feel as if I know Mr. Graves' stretch of the Brazos as well as the back of my hand.
John Walker
I really enjoyed reading this book but think it might have limited appeal..
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By John Walker on May 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read this book 15 years ago. And although I've never been to that part of Texas, I feel as if I know Mr. Graves' stretch of the Brazos as well as the back of my hand. I have always felt guilty for never writing him a fan letter. He deserves as much credit as Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey, John McPhee and all the rest or our naturalist philosophers for his beautiful prose and endlessly ruminative mind. I know that at least one reviewer found the book dull, and I have no capacity for empathy. In fact, I recently purchased, through Amazon, an autographed copy of the book with Mr. Graves' own photographs, for [$$]. If my son loves this book someday as much as I have, I'll consider my life a success. It is that good.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By donbird@rocketmail.com on May 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I first met John Graves in 1981 at a Texas Writers' Convention in Ft. Worth. I told him that I'd bought at least 30 copies of Goodbye (which was true), having lent or given outright some 29 previous copies. He autographed it, and wrote a prelogue thanking me for my good opinion of the book. Read it for yourself, and enjoy Texas history and the mind of a man who is attached to every feeder creek, low water crossing, or sweeping bend. This book is what the best and worst of Texas is all about. Read it, then come on down to the River, and catch some fish. I'll set you up with a canoe rental ...
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Friarhoss on January 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
With all the previous and excellent reviews for this fantastic book, I will only add a short comment:

This was recommended to me for a Texas history course, but this is not merely the best history book I have come across, but this is the best book I have read bar none. If you read for self-discovery, history or love of good writing, then you will not re-shelve this disappointed when you're done. You will, if you are like me, go and find your parents or your grandparents or both, hug them and say, "I never appreciated what you did and what you left behind for my generation. Thank you".

And thank you, John Graves.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer VINE VOICE on May 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I carried a copy of this book with me while away from Texas, while in the US Army back in '71. Every time I would get terribly lonely for home and Texas, I would read this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves history, Texas, nature, or rivers. I own several copies (five last count, as have given away half a dozen to good friends), and continue to re-read the book, as I always enjoy Mr. Graves' words, his history lessons, and his use of the English language. His imparting of the north Texas dialect is wonderful, as that dialect is the one in which I also was and am immersed. I have many other of Mr. Graves books, but GTAR is the first you should read! By the way, I also went to Boy Scout Camp at Worth Ranch on the Brazos as many boys did during the mid 50s, boated and canoed and fished on the Brazos, or the Brazos de Dios, the Arms of God. The sweet smell of oak and cedar, of campfires on river islands, the sounds of water rushing down river, the taste of fresh catfish fried up in a campfire...the bald eagles and deer, the ghosts of "The People" and early settlers....the best times....

I know of no other author who has a command of the written language like Mr. Graves, he paints pictures with words. His writing is kind of a combination of Ed Abbey, Ben K. Green, A.C. Greene, and Elmer Kelton, mixed in with a modern Thoreau.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on October 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was very impressed with this book. Graves does so much in this enjoyable volume. As he takes a canoe trip down the Brazos near where he grew up, he shares the history of the land--both recent and not-so-recent. Through him, we learn the reality of life for the average settler on the edge of the frontier. He also seems to be detailing a life that in his time was declining and in our age is nearly completely gone. His writing is difficult to describe and unlike anything I have ever read. It flows smoothly with a combination of regional speech and erudition. As you read you feel like you are in the canoe with an incomparable guide to this region of our state. A great book that deserves to be read much more widely than it is.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 7, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A great story that incorporates history, the outdoors, and philosophy. With the rugged country of the upper Brazos river as his backdrop, Graves takes you on an enjoyable journey that you hope will never end. You hear tales of the "Old West" and modern Texas as well. Graves' thoughts as he travels alone on the Brazos are classic for their insight and humor. I highly reccomend this book to all Texans, or anyone who wants to feel like a Texan for a while. I'm buying another Graves book soon.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I live 25 miles from the spot on the Brazos river where John Graves begins his tale. I have floated this section of the river many times. Reading this book before making the trip makes the float immeasurably more interesting. Each time you come to a certain spot or bend in the river, you recall the tale the author related about the history surrounding that particular spot. This is a great book for anyone who has ever floated or would like to float this section of the Brazos river.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Phillips on May 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was only a few pages into this book when I realized that I was reading a person who was the real thing. John Graves is a master wordsmith, a thinker, and a person who has the background and experiences to address the subject. As a former Marine and a native Texan, I admit that I might have identified with him a bit more strongly than some, but there is no question that his prose is from a gifted and talented pen. I have experienced part of the trip he described (the first couple of days...spectacular sandstone bluffs and all...)so it made the read more enjoyable and absorbing for me. The book I read was borrowed, so naturally, I have to have my own copy as well as other of his efforts.
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