Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Indie for the Holidays egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $15 Off All-New Fire Kindle Voyage Classics and Essentials in CDs & Vinyl Shop Now HTL

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $18.99
  • Save: $5.89 (31%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Mississippi Solo: A River... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: This item is listed as acceptable and has probably been well used. It could have considerable writing or highlighting throughout but is still usable and has been priced accordingly. Please do not buy if you are expecting a perfect copy. It has a couple more reads left before its time to be recycled. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Mississippi Solo: A River Quest Paperback – September 15, 1998

27 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$3.99 $0.48

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$13.10 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Mississippi Solo: A River Quest
  • +
  • Mighty Miss: A Mississippi River Experience
  • +
  • The First Hundred Miles are the Longest
Total price: $45.19
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews Review

At 30 years old, Eddy Harris leaves his home in St. Louis and sets off into the chilly autumn for Lake Itasca. "I decided to canoe down the Mississippi River and to find out what I was made of," he writes. And Mississippi Solo is his stunning testament. Harris, who has authored Native Stranger, South of Haunted Dreams, and Still Life in Harlem, has been widely acclaimed since the first release of Mississippi Solo in 1988. It is greatly pleasing to see this important and stimulating first work revived.

As the Mississippi grows from its tiny source to a wide and powerful flow, Harris gains confidence as a canoeist, faith in his endeavor, and an understanding of his varying identity as an African American traveling alone from north to south in the United States. His exact and brilliantly revealing prose shows us how each bend in this mighty river turns itself within the paddler, how person and river are entwined--and who is in charge.

With an astute ear for irony, philosophy, and wisdom, as well as truths about the river, Harris takes the reader through locks and lakes on the northern Mississippi to the wild and swift and meandering river south of St. Louis. Songs of joy, troughs of loneliness, terrific storms, birdsong, paranoia, friendly captains, wild dogs, and ghosts of slaves fill his pages. Then we face off with two hunters, two shotguns, and Harris's single pistol... and still the river leads him on to New Orleans. Like the river he travels, Harris cuts through to the core of himself and his country. Triumphant! --Byron Ricks

From Publishers Weekly

Growing up in St. Louis, Harris felt drawn to the Mississippi River and wanted to be part of it. At the age of 30 he decided it was time to challenge the riverand himselfby canoeing its length, Lake Itaska to New Orleans. With very little preparation or conditioning, he set out in the fall in a borrowed canoe. In addition to expected hazards of weather, traffic and navigation, the voyage held another one: Harris, who is black, encountered gun-toting rednecks downstream (he carried a revolver). But most people were friendly and encouraging; Harris learned how to handle the canoe in the wake of tugs and successfully tested himself to the limits of physical and mental endurance. Readers who enjoyed Jonathan Raban's Old Glory will want to read this exuberant account of a geographically similiar solo voyage. Harris is a talented writer; may he continue his adventures.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805059032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805059038
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bruce L. Nelson on October 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought a copy of this book after my own canoe trip down the Mississippi. It was fascinating to compare the experiences of Mr. Harris to my own.
The writing is perceptive, insightful, and entertaining. His observations of the people he met along the river, and himself, come across as very honest. He doesn't portray himself as a hero or an expert, but as the person he really is. His dedication to completing the journey is tenuous, but his appreciation for the lasting value of the experience is sincere.
His perceptions on racial issues were objective and refreshing. Although he had preconceived notions on what he might encounter, (a black man in Nordic northern Minnesota and later in the Deep South) he judged people based on how they treated him, and the vast majority of people treated him with kindness and respect.
His descriptions of the river, towns, weather and scenery are also enjoyable, and the hardships and joys are described with equal eloquence.
I was impressed how such a greenhorn of an outdoorsman would have the boldness to tackle such an adventure. My only disappointment with the book is when he skipped some parts of the river. It was his journey to make, however, and he is honest about any shortcuts he took.
In short, this is a great book. It is worth reading to experience the journey vicariously and for the writing itself. You won't be disappointed.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Terry Gold on May 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
I found this book at a used bookstore while looking for travel books to read on vacation. What a great book! I'm fascinated by the water and enjoyed the description of his trip down the Mississipi river, but I enjoyed even more seeing how a person who wasn't an outdoorsman or even an experienced boater took on this adventure. His experience with people along the way made me feel at the end that I would enjoy sharing a campfire with him and most of the people he met. Except for the rednecks with guns that is.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By RN, FNP on May 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
After hearing of Mr. Harris' book on NPR, I thought a travel book down the Mississippi would be fun to read. Mississippi Solo was an enjoyable slice in time and space of a voyage through the heartland of America. Like the song "Proud Mary," Mr. Harris finds that "people on the river are happy to give." His journey lets the reader enjoy the river experience much like Steinbeck shares his adventure in his camper. Mississippi Solo is an enjoyable book for any river rat or river rat want-to-be.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 1997
Format: Paperback
I read this after his 2nd book that traveled through Africa. It's allegorical structure and content is remarkable. He borrowed nearly everything and took a chance navigating the "mighty Mississip". He traveled the entire length encountering all aspects of Americana. From the poor shanties to large cities. From people living near the river to those working on it and those living on it. He encountered nature, people, life, and God on his trip. The latter was evident one Sunday when he'd lost track of the days. His description riveled meeting God in person. His described joy at having discovered God's announcement to him was inspirational. By the time he reached New Orleans and poured out his brandy to the river, my arms ached from paddling all the way with him. He writes with such an abundance of love, optimism, sadness, anger, but never hatred. Who needs fiction with Eddy Harris writing about his travels so clearly and so beautifully.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ikirkwood62 on December 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Eddy Harris' Mississippi Solo is a delight to read. Clocking in at almost exactly 250 pages, the memoir chronicles the author's journey down the Mississippi River alone in a canoe, and the experiences he has with everything he encounters there.

I'm not a big fan of what I'd call "Journey" novels. I didn't enjoy On The Road too much, and I expected this to be *that* type of memoir. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this a smooth-flowing, meandering-but-focused memoir. Harris has a very peculiar way of being able to take a clean slice of life he has experienced and transfer it to the page. When he meets the random people he does on the river, the reader is given quick, insightful information about them. And the overall effect is something identical to what Harris himself faced while on the river.

The book dragged in places, but the writing was tight that it pulled the reader through without too much dismay. I read this for an "African American Nature Writing" class, so I was focusing on it and examining passages in depth. Harris stands up taller than his contemporaries, and his prose has some serious muscles behind it.

I wouldn't mind reading more from this author in the future.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bill Staley on May 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book to read on a business trip that involved cross country flights. Did not read it on the trip. Started it the night I got back and read half of it when I really should have been sleeping. Finished it the next night. He transforms and you want to see it happen. He has doubts about completing his trip and you want to see if he will finish it. He has his troubles and you want to see if they get worse. You want to know more about the people he meets. Sometimes he says twice things that he could say once, but it's ok because it moves along. There is some historical perspective, some thoughts on racism, not too much. I would have liked to know more about what he brought with him and what he really needed, but he's not that kind of outdoor guy. He says at the end that his back was never the same. Was there something he could have done to avoid that? He does not say. It's ultimately ok because he sticks to the narrative and that holds your interest.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Mississippi Solo: A River Quest
This item: Mississippi Solo: A River Quest
Price: $13.10
Ships from and sold by