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Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage

In 1789, Alexander Mackenzie travelled the 1,125 miles of the immense river in Canada that now bears his name, in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, only to confront impassable pack ice. In 2016, the acclaimedmemoirist Brian Castner retraced Mackenzie's route by canoe in a grueling journey -- and discovered the Passage he could not find.Disappointment River is a dual historical narrative and travel memoir that at once transports readers back to the heroic age of North American exploration and places them in a still rugged but increasingly fragile Arctic wilderness in the process of profound alteration by the dual forces of energy extraction and climate change. Eleven years before Lewis and Clark, the Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie actually crossed the North American continent with a team of voyageurs and Native guides. Before that he was the first to discover a route to the Arctic Ocean from the Great Lakes, along the river he named "Disappointment" because he believed he'd failed in his mission to find a trade route to the riches of the East. In fact he had -- he was just two-plus centuries early. In this book, Brian Castner not only retells the story of Mackenzie's epic voyages in vivid prose, he personally retraces his travels in an 1,125-mile canoe voyage down the river that bears his name, battling exhaustion, exposure, mosquitoes, white water rapids and the threat of bears. He transports readers to a world rarely glimpsed in the media, of tar sands, thawing permafrost, remote Native villages and, at the end, a wide open Arctic Ocean that is quickly becoming a far-northern Mississippi of barges and pipelines and oil money....

Title : Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage
Author :
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ISBN : 9780771023958
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 pages
Url Type : Home » Disappointment » Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage

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Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage Reviews

  • Rebecca

    I am not outdoorsy and I don't often reach for books with a Canadian connection. And yet, after having enjoyed End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood earlier this year, I felt very drawn to reading something else with a strong nature element. The alternating structure of Disappointment River, with chapters devoted to Mackenzie's journey and the author's own more recent trip definitely kept me interested. The book is well-researched, very accessible and offers perfect doses of histo ...more

  • Amelia

    Part history, part memoir - an interesting modern day exploration in the Canadian north that retraces a fascinating part of Canada's story. Made me want to pick up my paddle and get a few mosquito bites.

  • Liz

    I was supposed to have received a copy of this book for a first reads giveaway. I would love review/read the book but unfortunately I am not able to since the book never arrived at my apartment.

  • Michelle

    Interesting read, but not quite into the writing style.

  • Paul Womack

    Not quite what I expected, but more. A reflective account of several lives connected by a tumultuous river. Reading this book I was reminded that beyond our tame exiatences is passion, unpredictability, the unexpected, and for some of those still bold, the lure of discovery. I would not embark on such a joorney, but the author made it possible to share his adventure emotionally and mentally.

  • Brenda Schneider

    Enjoyed the tracing of a historical trip. I would recommend reading. I won this book through goodreads.

  • Angie Boyter

    A really fascinating subject but ultimately disappointing due to writing style

    See my Amazon review: