The bare historical facts are these: John Wesley Powell and his party made their way downriver, bouncing over churning rapids, climbing steep canyon walls, scaling seemingly impassable mountains--hard work, and made more difficult by the fact that Powell had lost his right arm seven years earlier at the Battle of Shiloh. Along the way they gathered information and provisions from local Indians, argued among themselves over how best to proceed, and suffered calamities great and small. The journey ended prematurely four months after it began when three disgruntled members of the party left, only to be murdered in a canyon in southwestern Utah. Vernon elaborates on these data while remaining for the most part true to them. He imagines, for instance, what those over-the-campfire arguments that so divided the party must have been about, giving fire and grit to Major Powell's matter-of-fact journal entries, and he considers the voyage from the point of view of the Ute and Navajo peoples whom Powell and company encountered along the way.
Vernon's dialogues are sometimes a little too neat, their anachronistic language sometimes distracting. But he captures something of Powell's brooding personality as well as the perilous nature of his trailblazing journey "through deep gorges, rushing waters, bottomless silences, tall and craggy cliffs built by artists celestial." --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This strong, beautiful book's sophisticated prose and subtle character explorations make it the rare fact-based novel that actually convinces readers and illuminates a moment in... Read morePublished on August 16, 2003
This was the most irritatingly written novel I've ever read. Not being the type to easily give up on a book, I decided to give it 100 pages to see if it improved; I gave up on page... Read morePublished on July 14, 2003
This book was terrible. I couldn't finish it. The dialoge was sophomoric. There wasnt any character development. A complete waste of time.Published on November 15, 2002