Noah Adams has Appalachia in his blood. A native of eastern Kentucky, he comes to the headwaters of the New River not just in search of adventure but to better understand this own unique heritage. Following the New River from its mile-high source on North Carolina's Snake Mountain to its West Virginia mouth, Adams travels by Jeep and by bicycle, by foot and, most thrillingly, by white-water raft to explore the history, natural beauty, and fascinating characters waiting around every bend and turn.
Distilling history from legend, Adams tells of men and women whose lives crossed the New River before him, including Daniel Boone, fleeing his farming family in search of wilderness, and Cherokee Indians, driven west on their Trail of Tears. Along the way Adams paints a luminous portrait of a land and a people as richly vital and complex as America itself. With Adams' hushed, intimate tone, Far Appalachia mesmerizes and haunts like the bluegrass music that still rings through the mountains and valleys in which it was born.
Executive Producer: Sherry Huber
Producer: Louis Milgrom
Original cover design by Guy Billout
©2001 by Noah Adams
(P)2001 Random House, Inc.
"Whether white-water rafters or just along for the ride, [listeners] will find Adams' story of a year following the New River full of ...quiet, and often unexpected, grace." - (Publishers Weekly)
I am surprised by the ungenerous reviews of this audio title. Adam's reading is warm and genuine, as well as professional. His recounting of the New River's beauty and history and his own experiences of the area were a pleasure to which to listen. Having heard this book, surely no one can fail to recognize what a magical and lovely place Appalachia is. And I should know, as I have never lived far from it.
As a general read I would give this a very low score (1 star), if I were moving to the area or planning to canoe the New River or bike around the area I would give the book a much higher score (3/4 stars). There is no real story here and the history of the area and the people are only lightly touched on, if at all. I was left wanting much more. However; trails, river sections, stores and such are covered well along with a good description of the area and would certainly be of value to anyone planning a trip there.
I'm a big fan of Noah Adams on the radio so I was looking forward to the audio version of his book. My suggestion: buy the book and READ it yourself. If you're a fan of audio books, you know the reader is as important as the author. Mr Adams has a wonderful reporting voice but it's very distracting to hear him as a book reader. Hearing a poetic description of a scenic river float read in the same style as "Coalition forces came under fire as they made their way into Baghdad today..." well, you get the idea.
It's not unheard of for me to read and listen or listen and then read - but that pattern only occurs when one or the other is abridged. Far Appalachia is unabridged - but still too short. The author/narrator conveys a loving glimpse of a land both filled with folklore and rich in bedrock history. I would have enjoyed a longer audio trek with more time to examine the nuance however I accept that Far Appalachia is a personal recollection. It fits in Noah Adam's memories and he doesn't have to share everything; only enough to make we wish for more.
Smoothly flows along like the river he's describing.
Only as an NPR reporter The two experiences are incomparable being from entirely different styles.
Just enjoyed it.
For those who want a more dramatic trip on the river, try "Deliverance" as written by James Dickey and narrated by Will Patton. It's much better than the film!
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