In 1985 a team of hand-picked adventurers, including writer Joe Kane, embarked on a journey that would take them to the remote headwaters of the Amazon Basin. But that was just the beginning of the trip. Their goal: to navigate the world's longest river from source to mouth, a feat never before recorded.
After reaching (via a goat trail) a glacial trickle above 17,000 feet--debatably the farthest source of the Amazon--the team descends to a point where kayaks can be deployed. From there the trip entails kayaking through one of the nastiest white-water canyons on the planet, a stretch of water that has previously claimed the lives or quickly halted the plans of all who attempted to conquer it; navigating an unmapped gorge known affectionately as the Abyss; sneaking through the "Red Zone," an area closed to foreigners and occupied by the notorious Shining Path rebels; and, finally, paddling to the Atlantic by sea kayak through 3,000 miles of hot jungle.
Hired initially to chronicle the project from dry land, Kane quickly assumes a more integral role as a much-needed paddler, and as such he is able to provide vivid, first-hand descriptions of the treacherous water encountered. But in many ways the water is the least imposing obstacle to success. Along the way the team is beset by financial difficulties, a crisis of leadership, attacks from armed rebels, and the defection of team members. Kane's account of this six-month ordeal is much more than a travelogue of athletic endeavor--it's a fascinating portrait of the planning, politics, and personal struggles involved in mounting a modern-day expedition through a vast expanse of largely uncharted territory.
It was an ill-assorted multinational party of 10 men and one woman; their object was to run the 4200 miles of the Amazon, from a snowfield in the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic Ocean. Kane was the only American in the group. Of the original 11, only four, Kane among them, reached the sea, six months after the start. This is a spine-tingling adventure narrative that leaves the reader eager to learn what next will befall these hapless travelers. They encountered extremes of weather, altitude sickness, suicidal rapids, armed guerrillas; they met Indians who had never encountered white people; they camped on the grounds of a cocaine factory. Kane gives a vivid account of running the rapids--some of the members were swept into the river, barely escaping death. It was a grueling journey and a historic one--this expedition was the first to paddle the entire length of the Amazon. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the land, the water, and the local people. All matched my recollections of my limited experience with the Andes and the Amazon. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Virginia Reid
Good human interest story, but it is easy to get lost in the place names because no maps are provided. Read morePublished 2 days ago by she caribe
As I portaged my way through this book, waiting for the adventure to begin I stumbled across this nugget of guano (page 66): "Farmers in tabletop-flat Iowa lose a foot and a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by chuck fritz
Looking at the rest of the reviews, I am guessing that they are getting paid to write them. The truth is that I am half way through the book and only one twentieth of the way to... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Brad
The story of a river trip down the Amazon from it's source to its mouth - the difficulties and the dissensions as well as the teamwork and skills necessary. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jonathan A. Hayes
This book is divided into three parts, the first of which I found pretty boring. It got better in part 2, when he actually got on the water. (Part 1 was mostly about hiking. Read morePublished 9 months ago by K. Shay