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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Very good condition. Used but not abused. All pages are intact. No writing or highlighting found upon inspection. Not ex-library
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Goodbye to a River: A Narrative Paperback – July 9, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Graves’s writing is invaluable. . . . The reader who misses Graves will have missed much.” --Larry McMurtry

“As you read, you have the feeling that the whole colorful, brutal tapestry of the Lone Star State is being unrolled for you out of the biography of this one stream.” —The Atlantic Monthly

“Graves’ originality and flair turn this local scene and regional lore into an hoest and powerfully evocative picture of frontier life anywhere.” —The Chicago Sunday Tribune

“One of the most pleasing books I’ve ever read. I love the way it weaves together remote history, not so remote history, present events, and landscape.”—Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375727787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375727788
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read this book 15 years ago. And although I've never been to that part of Texas, I feel as if I know Mr. Graves' stretch of the Brazos as well as the back of my hand. I have always felt guilty for never writing him a fan letter. He deserves as much credit as Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey, John McPhee and all the rest or our naturalist philosophers for his beautiful prose and endlessly ruminative mind. I know that at least one reviewer found the book dull, and I have no capacity for empathy. In fact, I recently purchased, through Amazon, an autographed copy of the book with Mr. Graves' own photographs, for [$$]. If my son loves this book someday as much as I have, I'll consider my life a success. It is that good.
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Format: Paperback
I first met John Graves in 1981 at a Texas Writers' Convention in Ft. Worth. I told him that I'd bought at least 30 copies of Goodbye (which was true), having lent or given outright some 29 previous copies. He autographed it, and wrote a prelogue thanking me for my good opinion of the book. Read it for yourself, and enjoy Texas history and the mind of a man who is attached to every feeder creek, low water crossing, or sweeping bend. This book is what the best and worst of Texas is all about. Read it, then come on down to the River, and catch some fish. I'll set you up with a canoe rental ...
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Format: Paperback
With all the previous and excellent reviews for this fantastic book, I will only add a short comment:

This was recommended to me for a Texas history course, but this is not merely the best history book I have come across, but this is the best book I have read bar none. If you read for self-discovery, history or love of good writing, then you will not re-shelve this disappointed when you're done. You will, if you are like me, go and find your parents or your grandparents or both, hug them and say, "I never appreciated what you did and what you left behind for my generation. Thank you".

And thank you, John Graves.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I carried a copy of this book with me while away from Texas, while in the US Army back in '71. Every time I would get terribly lonely for home and Texas, I would read this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves history, Texas, nature, or rivers. I own several copies (five last count, as have given away half a dozen to good friends), and continue to re-read the book, as I always enjoy Mr. Graves' words, his history lessons, and his use of the English language. His imparting of the north Texas dialect is wonderful, as that dialect is the one in which I also was and am immersed. I have many other of Mr. Graves books, but GTAR is the first you should read! By the way, I also went to Boy Scout Camp at Worth Ranch on the Brazos as many boys did during the mid 50s, boated and canoed and fished on the Brazos, or the Brazos de Dios, the Arms of God. The sweet smell of oak and cedar, of campfires on river islands, the sounds of water rushing down river, the taste of fresh catfish fried up in a campfire...the bald eagles and deer, the ghosts of "The People" and early settlers....the best times....

I know of no other author who has a command of the written language like Mr. Graves, he paints pictures with words. His writing is kind of a combination of Ed Abbey, Ben K. Green, A.C. Greene, and Elmer Kelton, mixed in with a modern Thoreau.
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Format: Paperback
I was very impressed with this book. Graves does so much in this enjoyable volume. As he takes a canoe trip down the Brazos near where he grew up, he shares the history of the land--both recent and not-so-recent. Through him, we learn the reality of life for the average settler on the edge of the frontier. He also seems to be detailing a life that in his time was declining and in our age is nearly completely gone. His writing is difficult to describe and unlike anything I have ever read. It flows smoothly with a combination of regional speech and erudition. As you read you feel like you are in the canoe with an incomparable guide to this region of our state. A great book that deserves to be read much more widely than it is.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An astonishing book, by an extraordinary writer, and more importantly, an extraordinary human being. The book assumes the form of a narrative of the author's three week solo canoe trip down the Brazos, a river about one hour by speeding car west of Ft. Worth, Texas; the journey was taken "way down in the fall," in late November, 1959, when the northerners begin to howl, and bring snow. By most estimations, it is not much of a river, and even the author says: "...on a salty river unloved, unlovable except by a few loners and ranchers and cedar-hill misanthropes." Graves gives only glimpses into his background, and if you blink, you might miss them. But consider, here is a man who has read Joyce's "Ulysses," and recalls that Leopold Bloom's father had slept with his dog, Athos, in order to cure the father's aches and pains, just as Graves was carrying a six-month-old dachshund he routinely refers to as "the passenger," for his own comfort. But Graves is equally well-grounded in the natural world, knows all the various types of trees, how they burn, and the appearance of the wood's grain, and that: "the white oaks are prime...one of the finest of aromatic fuels is a twisted, wave-grained branch of live oak..." Graves was a Marine Captain during World War II, wounded on Saipan, but again the reader only gets the slightest glimpse of that in one passage in which that perspective is used to reflect on the casualties of this countryside during the frontier days: "I once saw 4,000 Japanese stacked like cordwood, the harvest of two days' fighting, on one single islet on one single atoll awaiting bulldozer burial, more dead that the Brazos could show for its whole two or three decades of travail...Read more ›
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