- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (July 1, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1439159866
- ISBN-13: 978-1439159866
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (790 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon Paperback – July 1, 2014
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"Kevin Fedarko's new brilliant work... is the story about wilderness and the American mind, albeit an American mind juiced on Class V adrenaline... Perhaps because we sympathize so strongly with the characters of The Emerald Mile--thanks in no small part to Fedarko's flowing prose--you'll feel yourself lurching along with them on wooden boats, in ocher-hued canyons, beneath cobalt skies, into the frenzied thrashings of the Colorado river as the very lanscape of the West attempts to choke it." (Mountain magazine)
"The book is at its heart an engrossing meditation on the eternal struggle between man and nature." (Pittsburg Post-Gazette)
"Kevin Fedarko's remarkable The Emerald Mile re-creates an incredible voyage through the flood-swollen Grand Canyon in such heart-pounding detail that you need to pause every few pages to catch your breath... He writes so vividly that your favorite reading chair becomes a spray-soaked perch on a bucking boat hit hard by a river running high and fast." (Dallas Morning News)
"Crafting a tale as graceful and powerful as the natural wonder of which he writes... the books goes beyond your typical river porn, offering a wide appeal to everyone from history buffs and the Popular Mechanics set to environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts. In fact, it would not be overblown to say The Emerald Mile deserved a spot on the bookshelf alongside such enduring classics as Cadillac Desert, Desert Solitaire and Encounters with the Archdruid. It's that good...Fedarko will have you posied on the edge of your seat like a high-sider at in Lava Falls." (Durango Telegraph)
"His poetic and descriptive writing should only brighten his accolades and helps his non-fiction book read like a fast-paced fiction adventure...It isn't necessary to be a history buff or whitewater expert to enjoy this story... With meticulous research, notes and epilogue, Fedarko tells a satisfying story that is quite an entertaining ride." (Deseret News)
"The Emerald Mile is the rarest of creations–a magical convergence of words and paper, wood and water, rock and sky, human character and cosmic caprice. Can an adventure story be as beautiful as it is heart-stopping and exciting? This one is, and Fedarko’s book is as inspiring as a dory itself, flying down a wild river. I have no doubt it will become an instant classic, a timeless chronicle of what can still be legitimately called the American spirit." (Bob Shacochis author of Swimming in the Volcano and Easy in the Islands)
"Fedarko's effortlessly engaging narrative... is a labor of passion from an adventurous journalist who still calls the Grand Canyon home." (Boulder Weekly)
"Powerful and poetic passages put readers inside the adventurers' boats, even if they have only ever imagined the Grand Canyon or seen it in pictures... an epic-sized true-life adventure tale that appeals to both the heart and the head." (Kirkus)
"Kevin Fedarko's magnificent book covers a lot of ground -- and water... So it is a great boon of Fedarko's book that he tells the story of the dam, and of the engineers and techinicians who built it... with as much respect and homage as he gives to the dorymen." (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
"Grua's wild ride on the Colorado, how it mirrored his mercurial personality, is just on part of Fedarko's story; however, the rive, which runs through seven states, and the canyon, rich in both geological and political history, prove to be the real protagonists." (Publisher's Weekly)
"From the bottom of our planet's most awesome landscape, Kevin Fedarko has found and rescued a great American tall tale that just happens to be true. As a boatman, Fedarko knows this world intimately. As a writer, he'll make you understand it, savor it, and ultimately love it as you never have before. Here is an instant classic of adventure literature—a story shot through with bravura but also touched by the rarest kind of grandeur." (Hampton Sides editor-at-large at Outside magazine and author of Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers)
About the Author
Kevin Fedarko lives in northern New Mexico and works as a part-time river guide in Grand Canyon National Park. In addition to his travel narratives in Outside, where he worked as a senior editor, Fedarko’s work has appeared in Esquire, National Geographic Adventure, and other publications, and has been anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing in 2004 and 2006. Fedarko was a staff writer at Time magazine from 1991 to 1997, where his work helped garner an Overseas Press Club Award for a story on the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Fedarko earned a Masters of Philosophy in Russian history at Oxford in 1990.
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Top Customer Reviews
We as a family often read books aloud to each other. When we were doing this with "Emerald Mile", we found that we had to pause often and just absorb and relish in the incredible magic of the words that had just transpired. Descriptions of "floating mandolins" in tune with "the harmonics of the river" and on and on....just pure delight to visualize! I love the description of the feeling of the connection of a wooden boat with water....things that an author could only know from years of being with and dreaming about the boats.
You don't have to be a river person to enjoy this work, as the words flow just as beautifully as a river itself. Kevin Fedarko's dedication to and love for the subject is clear and truly amazing!
Grand Canyon private dory boatman
admirer of outstanding writing
I found this utterly fascinating, and enjoyed comparing it with similar Grand Canyon history books. It's interesting how everyone has a slightly different view of things, and the characters in the Big Ditch. For example, Georgie White is either a heroine or an outlaw, depending on who is telling the story at the time, and sometimes both. However, she'll always be remembered for her comment after wrecking at Crystal Rapid with her unsinkable boat during the flood. The behemoth came apart and scattered equipment and passengers seven ways to Sunday. Georgie was found, shaken but alive, and when Scott Thybony asked her what happened, her reply was "I told 'em to hang on. But they just don't make passengers the way they used to."
They don't make Grand Canyon adventures the way they used to, either. With the National Parks Service banning everything they can, there won't be many more of these incredible tales to share around the campfires.
I especially liked the story about the evolution of the McKenzie river driftboat into the Grand Canyon dory that runs the whitewater with elegance and grace, and the fragility of a soap bubble.
Great for the armchair adventurer, or for the folks who are working the river.
Specifically, the background and insight into the events leading up to the Colorado river run really made the book fascinating. The author did a great job incorporating all parts of the story of the run - from the origins of the official discovery of the Grand Canyon to the push to build dams to the history of exploration of the Colorado and its history - all told in an entertaining and enlightening way. But (here's my disclaimer) I live in Arizona, so, many of the topics the author writes about are situations, places, policies that I am at least partially familiar with.
The actual run (which is in the last quarter of the book) was anticlimactic for me. It was exciting to think of running specific rapids and to read of the challenges other people on the river at the same time experienced (some quite frightening), but the actual account of the run is relatively sparse. The actual story of the run really does revolve around the 'big' picture - the problems at Glen Canyon Dam, the unique culture of river guides, the history of dories, and the politics of getting a permit to attempt the run. It's obvious the book was written by someone captivated by the experience of being on the river and the beauty of the surroundings.
I also need to mention that the author does an admirable job of balancing the goals and values of the river runners (who are generally of the conservation mindset) with the goals and values of the operators of the dam (who are generally more interested in furthering the ability to use technology wisely). I never felt as though he had an agenda in presenting both sides - which was a huge breath of fresh air! I have no problem with reading an agenda type book when I know that's what I'm getting. I really appreciated an opportunity to see both sides of the argument for and against Glen Canyon Dam specifically.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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