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The C&O Canal Companion Paperback – March 22, 2001


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The C&O Canal Companion + Rail-Trails Mid-Atlantic: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC and West Virginia
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; Updated edition (March 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801866022
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801866029
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A contender for the hearts and minds of canal buffs. It shows the results of serious historical research, particularly about the Civil War, and is well-written and organized." -- The Washington Times



"High gives practical information about exploring the canal and provides extensive historical background... Provides many opportunities for using the canal as a means of exploring this region's history." -- Historic Traveler

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

An informative and affectionate guide to the canal written by C&O devotee Mike High... And yes, it'll fit comfortably in your backpack.

(Mid-Atlantic Country)

High gives practical information about exploring the canal and provides extensive historical background... Provides many opportunities for using the canal as a means of exploring this region's history.

(Historic Traveler)

There are other guides to the canal, but High's is the latest and may be the best. It's a mile-by-mile guide, well-illustrated, full of history and surrounding cultural notes. The more one learns about the canal, the more intriguing it is.

(Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star)

A contender for the hearts and minds of canal buffs. It shows the results of serious historical research, particularly about the Civil War, and is well-written and organized.

(Washington Times)

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Customer Reviews

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I am a volunteer with the C&O Canal bike patrol and this is a great guide.
Donald Street
When human beings stretch their legs and breathe deeply, they are better able to exercise their rights and freedoms.
Martin H. Dickinson
Finally, the book is organized wonderfully and is an easy and interesting read.
A. DeBruyn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nancy A. Stevenson on April 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
My family lived in Washington for ten years. We often hiked on the C & O Canal. I studied for a masters in American history while we were there. The C & O Canal Companion would have added enormously to all of those experiences.
Reading this book's vignettes provides intimate connections to our nation's past. For example, The Companion reports that after the Revolutionary War, George Washington founded the Patowmack Company, an early attempt at making the Potomac River navigable because of his interest in his "western properties" across the Appalachian mountains. This guide gives a glimpse of the first President that we do not always see while pointing out visible remnants of those efforts.
In a notation about Chain Bridge, a beloved route to many of today's Washington suburbs, the guide shows the Civil War up close and personal. A Confederate sentinel was posted on the south side of the bridge, a Union soldier, mere yards away, on the north side. Furthermore, that same entry gives a brief sketch of Private William Scott who fell asleep there on his post. Court-marshaled by McClellan, pardoned by President Lincoln, William Scott went on to fight and die in battle for the Union cause. The Companion furnishes helpful information about parking, hiking, bed and board opportunities which are difficult to find elsewhere. It gives addresses and telephone numbers for reservations or further information.
Having looked at the Companion for specific data on one short stretch of the Canal, I have been lured into reading further, more like following a story than studying a guide. It made me want to return to Washington with children, hiking boots and The Companion in hand.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Shapar on May 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was thrilled to find and read this book, the most complete one about the Canal I've found. As a frequent runner on and veteran of several cycling trips along the entire length of the Canal--as well as a resident of Georgetown--I have long had an interest in and love for the Canal.
The author, Mike High, uses many interesting and entertaining vignettes to tell the story of the Canal. He divides the book into four parts: "Historical Sketch", "Structures along the Canal", "Visiting the Canal", and "Canal Guide".
The first two sections put the Canal into a fascinating historical and engineering context, including George Washington's role in the development of the Canal, and the Canal's involvement in the Civil War. The last section is a concise, mile-by-mile guidebook.
In addition to history, High also presents useful information, including accommodations located nearby the Canal and suggested activities on/near the Canal.
For $... a "best buy".
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Shanafelt on September 22, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This summer, I started biking the C&O Trail starting at Cumberland. I wanted a book that would tell some of the history of the trail as well as providing good landmarks for Civil War crossings, etc... This book fit the bill. I looked for several books on Amazon, and I'm happy that I choose this one.

The book is seperated into two parts, a general overview and history, and then a mile-by-mile breakdown of what to expect on the trail. I first read the history section and every night now before I head on the trail, I pull out the book and see what area I will cover the next day. The book has been great for planning with parking spots, etc...

One suggestion that I can think of is to offer a book that starts in Cumberland instead of Georgetown because reading the book backwards is somewhat awkward (I realize that most people start from the Georgetown end, though). Additionally, it would be great to have GPS coordinates posted of the landmarks in addition to the mileage marker. I would love to be able to load the coordinates in my GPS so I know exactly where these landmarks are while biking.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K L Karos on March 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
My interest in this book is as a tourning bicycle rider. It was of interest but not an invaluable guide for the bicycler.

I read it cover to cover. The old black and white photos are interesting. There is some practical information about exploring the canal. The extensive historical background is where the real value of this book lies.

It leans more towards history as a subject rather than touring.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. DeBruyn on June 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I organized and led our high school youth group (23 people) for a week long ride on the trail. This book was invaluable in pulling it off. It has all the info for logistical planning, as well as providing excellent historical context (which the high schoolers loved.)

While we were on the trail, I was tracking our progress via the book at every water stop. Even if you have minimal map reading skills, the maps in the book will allow you to determine your location with great accuracy (again, which the high schoolers loved.)

Finally, the book is organized wonderfully and is an easy and interesting read. It combines information with background and context.

In sum, if you are going to ride the C&O Canal trail, don't leave home without this book in your possession. It is as important as water and a first aid kit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philly gal VINE VOICE on December 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this guide on a bike trip on the C&O canal this year. It is too big to take along each day, rather I found it to be useful to read before each day's ride to learn about what we'd see that day. It does a great job with the history of the canal and you really will learn a lot if you use it as a trip companion. I also used it in trip preparation to try and gage each days trip.
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