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River Life : The Natural and Cultural History of a Northern River Paperback – March 1, 2001

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River Life : The Natural and Cultural History of a Northern River + Graced by the Seasons: Spring and Summer in the Northwoods + A Northwoods Companion: Spring and Summer (Outdoor Essays & Reflections)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Manitowish River Press; 1st edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965676331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965676335
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,615,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Of the many books that have been written about American rivers, most are quite forgettable, but occasionally one comes along that is outstanding . . . Now when the subject of outstanding river-books comes up, you can add another to the relatively shore list - River Life: The Natural and Cultural History of a Northern River. A fascinating exploration of the ecological, cultural, hydrological, and geomorphological processes of the Manitowish River in layperson s language, River Life aims to provide the basis for understanding not only the Manitowish but also the life of other northern rivers. Packed with information, River Life is written in a wonderfully conversational and lively style that makes it easy and fun to read . . . Bates uses his trip down the river as a framework for engrossing observations on the life of the Northwoods past, present, and future . . . Reading the book, which indeed flows like a river, is comparable to paddling down the Manitowish in Johns company, and what could be better than that? --Mike Svob, author of Paddling Northern Wisconsin; Paddling Southern Wisconsin; and Paddling Illinois

River Life is a veritable textbook for those interested in the ecology and, in some cases, the politics of rivers in general, and the history of the Manitowish River in particular. This is not a quick read, and the story, like a river, meanders back and forth . . . Bates mixes history and biology with impressive aptitude. Each chapter, each page, is a story unto itself, and when you finally reach the end, you are left with an understanding of the broad sweep of time and distance through which the Manitowish River, and the land around it, has come. --Ted Gostomski, Executive Director North American Loon Fund

An excellent resource for presenting example of natural history and ecology or for highlighting the biodiversity of northern temperate rivers . . . Bates leads the way with tantalizing stories. --Choice, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

About the Author

John Bates is the author of seven books and a contributor to four others, all of which focus on the natural history of the Northwoods. He has worked as a naturalist in Wisconsins Northwoods for 19 years, leading an array of trips all designed to help people further understand the remarkable diversity and beauty of nature, and our place within it.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 14, 2001
In River Life: The Natural And Cultural History Of A Northern River, naturalist and ecologist John Bates takes the reader on a fascinating and informative exploration of Wisconsin's Manitowish River. Packed with historical and environmental information, River Life carefully examines current ecological studies, draws upon fur trader journals and archaeological surveys, and is replete with Bate's own personal observations to vividly describe the "life" of this small northern Wisconsin river. River Life is enthusiastically recommended for students of natural history and river-based ecological systems, and would serve as an ideal template for similar historical and environmental accounts of other small to medium sized rivers throughout the United States.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B.Myers on October 30, 2008
Bates' observations about the Manitowish are fascinating. The life cycle of the sturgeon and the impact on sturgeon of the dam at Turtle Flambeau Flowage (TFF) are real eye openers.

I have paddled many rivers in the upper midwest, and have found the Manitowish below hwy 51 to the TFF to be one of the most beautiful river stretches I have ever been on. The book adds insight and history to this river that makes the paddle even more lovely.
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