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Two Coots in a Canoe: An Unusual Story Of Friendship Hardcover – September 11, 2009
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“Fans of Dave Morine will be delighted and not at all surprised that his newest work, Two Coots In a Canoe, is―nearly to the end―a book of laughter, an account of the comic misadventures of two old friends as they float down the sunlit Connecticut River. And then come the final pages: The two friends’ dark destination will surprise and shock all readers, even those with the wits of a wood tick. This remarkable book should be bought and read. Those who do will remember it for a long time.”
―Bil Gilbert, author of God Gave Us This Country and winner of the National Magazine Award
“A great story about the mystery of friends and comfort of strangers. Dave is not just the supreme conversationalist but also the original conservationist; he virtually defined the art and practice of private land conservation in the 70's and 80's. No one engages people the way he does. His journeys are always worth sharing. John McPhee's birchbark canoe has nothing over two coot's canoe.” ―Spencer B. Beebe, President, Ecotrust
“Dave ‘Bugsy’ Morine has once again given us a great book―an adventure story that I would have published when editor of National Geographic Magazine.” ―Bill Garrett
“This is the story of two men in one canoe, but on two different journeys. One sees endless opportunities while the other knows his fate is sealed before he ever picks up his paddle. Fresh and honest, light and dark, terminal yet hopeful―these are the undercurrents of a gifted storyteller who undertakes a modern adventure down a storied river valley. Enjoy Dave Morine’s tale: he is a wonderful raconteur.” ―Howard Corwin, M.D., psychiatrist, conservationist
“Dave Morine has done it again, proving that it is often what you do when you aren’t striving to get ahead that is most important. When you finish this book, you’ll want to drop everything, grab a canoe, and explore your own river.” ―George H. Fenwick, President, American Bird Conservancy
“It has been said Dave Morine never let truth get in the way of a good story, that this is all true makes it that much better a story―about a friendship and a river. The river conservation message is inspiring.” ―Rebecca R. Wodder, President of American Rivers
“I just finished my journey down the Connecticut River with Dave Morine and Ramsay Peard, and couldn't wait to share this recommendation with armchair adventurers everywhere. . . . I found good reading (and fascinating people) around every bend in the river. The ending makes all the more poignant their happy, revealing reliance on the kindness of strangers.” ―Doug Wheeler, former Executive Director, Sierra Club
“Morine’s account of the trip suggests Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat (1889), but it’s a bit more serious than that… The book is less about the people whom the canoers meet along the way (although they do encounter a colorful assortment) and the communities they discover than it is about the relationship between the two men and the startling, tragic turn it will take. A book that will entertain you and make you laugh until, at the end, it makes you want to cry.” - Booklist
From the Inside Flap
“Where will we stay?” Peard asked.
“We’ll rely on the kindness of strangers.”
And that’s what they did. Mooching their way downriver enabled these vintage voyagers to get an insider’s feel for the area and a firsthand look at many of the issues confronting the people who live along the Connecticut: the demise of farming, the growth of the health care industry, the loss of manufacturing, the boom in higher education, gay rights, Native American rights, Wal-Mart versus Main Street, and the issue closest to home―the river and the conservation efforts to protect it.
They were also able to delve deep into the lives of complete strangers. But sadly for Morine, he eventually realized that the one life he never dug into was Peard’s. After spending a month with him in a canoe, he had no idea that his friend’s innermost thoughts were on a dark and disturbing course.
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Top Customer Reviews
And just like life, this month on the river is littered with colorful characters. Like Huck and Jim, Dave and Ramsay (or is it Ramsay and Dave?) find the river is their third traveling companion, unfolding a varied array of stories. As the current carries them downstream, they spend the night with a sequence of like-minded if sometimes eccentric conservationists (any of whom seemed easier to get along with than Ramsay, if you ask me!) who were intrigued with their journey and offered to open their homes for a night to the pair.
And what a pair they are! Some of my favorite parts of the book are Dave's descriptions of his time -- and relationship -- with Ramsay. Dave Morine is one of the funniest story-tellers writing today, and the reader is well advised not to read this book while drinking any beverage that will stain his or her trousers. And he's a born diplomat, a gift that he needed numerous times in dealing with his sometimes unbelievably difficult stern paddler. The Connecticut River must have been howling as they rolled along.
And as a paddler, the river sequences were particularly fun for me. It all made me want to pull out one of my Old Town canoes (I sold my Mad River) and head out to my own local river. If you love a river, and that river runs past a city or two, you will love this book.Read more ›
The book's title (cleverly and effectively titled by its editor) accurately depicts what the reader expects - two older gentlemen with New England roots (Morine's from birth, Ramsay's from his school days) travel the Connecticut River and depend on the kindness of strangers for food, drink (too much beer, too much rum!) and respite. Both coots have personality to spare, but the helpers-along-the-way are also funny, as well as interesting, people; these New Englanders share their interesting stories (the murder of a daughter) and lifestyles (Morine tours a dairy farm) with the coots, and Morine takes us along for the journey.
Morine is an active conservationist, so environmental issues (dead rivers, industry, dams) are inevitably discussed in the book. He is also an excellent writer. Several LOL moments help to keep this moving. Fully enjoyable read. Great gift, too.
Since the book opens with an obituary that says something about "unexpected death" of one of the characters, you know right away he's gone. This colors the reading experience because I kept looking for and finding hints that all was not well.
All that aside, the book is well written and I enjoyed very much the journey the two men took paddling down the river. I liked best all the interesting people they met and the descriptions of overnight accomodations where they stayed.
I got an education about the Connecticut river and it's care and the value of the many small groups who are looking out for it's environmental health.
Maggie in Ohio
Ford Hutchinson, Hilton Head, SC
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this almost 5 years ago for husband. He enjoys canoeing so I thought this might be interesting for him. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Deborah S
I liked this story. It was about two friends who go on one last canoe trip, which one combines with work (inspecting potential conservation projects for grant requests) and the... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Chewbdu
very fast moving ,may not agree with all the liberal actions but well worth reading , very interesting bonding between all the actorsPublished 14 months ago by Winery Garden
One of the worst books I have read. Pointless, boring, self serving drivel. Maybe the writer was mourning the suicide of his paddle partner. Read morePublished 15 months ago by dislike
Good story. Fairly well-written, though at times it felt like some filler was added to get it to full book-length. Great perspective on the Connecticut River Valley. Read morePublished 18 months ago by fwk727
Sometimes strangers really are kind. Two old friends, in their 60s, decided to rely on strangers for board and room as they carried out a longtime dream of canoeing the length of... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Shirley G. Roberts