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Nine Ways to Cross a River: Midstream Reflections on Swimming and Getting There from Here Hardcover – July 10, 2007

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Heraclitus famously noted that you can't step into the same river twice, and Hudson Valley author Busch (Geography of Home) reaches this literal truth by swimming across nine different rivers—many once polluted beyond recognition—in order to "reclaim" them for personal and communal renewal. An avid swimmer, Busch resolved to swim across these rivers (with friends, in summer and during benevolent weather conditions) over the course of four years, despite repeated local admonitions not to go in the water: from the upper Hudson, where she resides, to the Delaware, Connecticut, Susquehanna, Monongahela, Cheat, Mississippi, Ohio and Current Rivers. Along the way she shares delightful lore about these important waterways, insinuating aspects of each river's particular history and beauty, such as that the Hudson was called "the river that flows two ways" by the local Algonquin; the Susquehanna is listed as the most polluted river; the Mississippi is the longest and most changing; while the Current in Missouri is the clearest. Busch enlists reflections from environmentalists and nature writers such as Edward Abbey and Thoreau, and taps into local organizations (e.g., Pete Seeger's) that claim that swimming in a river leads to a sense of stewardship. Busch's journey across these rivers becomes an elegant metaphor for life. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Busch has the gift of seeing the world new, and here brings her contemplative intelligence to nature, chronicling her intimate involvement with rivers. Busch swam across the river she loves best, the Hudson, in August 2001, and somehow the tragic events that followed made it seem "essential to mark each summer after that with a river crossing." Not that Busch is interested in athletic feats. Instead, her immersions literally and figuratively in the Delaware, Connecticut, Susquehanna, Monongahela, Mississippi, and other rivers involve pondering each one's complex and telling history, particularly its "industrial archaeology." As Busch details the grave abuses rivers have sustained and profiles various river keepers, including the Hudson's most famous advocate, Pete Seeger, she recognizes that as "the damage arrives collectively, so too does recovery." Writing with a swimmer's economy, propulsion, and buoyancy, Busch muses with quietly thrilling originality and resonance over the profound metaphors and life lessons rivers embody. In all, a beautiful and gracefully enlightening book of riverine reflections. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596910453
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596910454
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Douglas K. Smith on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Nine Ways is among the most beautifully writing to come along in years. That alone is reason to jump in and swim along with Akiko Busch. But there's more to this elegant and lyrical and watery reflection. Here is a viscous restorative that, whenever you dip in or out, is sure to salve your soul.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read excerpts of the book in a 2007 New York Times Magazine article. It so impressed me that I immediately went to the computer and registered to swim the Hudson River that summer(one of the rivers in the book) and did. The book, not surprisingly, is even better than the excerpts. This year I will swim the Hudson again. I would recommend the book to swimmers, environmentalists and pretty much anyone who would like to take some time to reflect on rivers and what they mean to us.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is like a quiet respite on a rainy afternoon. So nice to curl up with, and some great thoughts to ponder!
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of my favorite books I've ever read. I've read it twice in fact and may one day read again. Today I'm purchasing a copy for a friend. In addition, this book has inspired me to swim more often. Deep thanks to the author, Akiko Busch.
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Inspiring. Already gave it as a gift.
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