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Publisher's Summary

From one of Outside magazine's "Literary All-Stars" comes the thrilling true tale of the fastest boat ride ever, down the entire length of the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon, during the legendary flood of 1983.

In the spring of 1983, massive flooding along the length of the Colorado River confronted a team of engineers at the Glen Canyon Dam with an unprecedented emergency that may have resulted in the most catastrophic dam failure in history. In the midst of this crisis, the decision to launch a small wooden dory named the Emerald Mile at the head of the Grand Canyon, just 15 miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam, seemed not just odd but downright suicidal.

The Emerald Mile, at one time slated to be destroyed, was rescued and brought back to life by Kenton Grua, the man at the oars, who intended to use this flood as a kind of hydraulic sling-shot. The goal was to nail the all-time record for the fastest boat ever propelled - by oar, by motor, or by the grace of God himself - down the entire length of the Colorado River from Lee's Ferry to Lake Mead. Did he survive? Just barely. Now, this remarkable, epic feat unfolds here, in The Emerald Mile.

©2013 Kevin Fedarko (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome story and history of the Grand Canyon!

This is the first audiobook I have ever listened to that wasn't directed at my young kids. Given my own challenge with listening, I followed a written copy of the book at the same time.
This is a tremendous story - great character development, excellent detailing, a thought-provoking read on the trade offs of wilderness and modern society.
The only drawback was that the reader fairly frequently was reading things that differed from the book, in some cases quite substantially. I found this quite disconcerting. Being a detail person, I was left wondering what version was correct.
I would highly recommend this book to others who love the outdoors, wilderness and the power of moving rivers. I greatly enjoyed it!

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love!

One of my new favorite books! Absolutely loved it! The adventure story is eloquently intertwined with the historical environmental activism in the west.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fabulous

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is one of the most balanced and adventurous books I have read in a long time. It is about the environment, love of nature and the way that man affects it. There is no judgement just great realities from both sides of the issues. In the end it is about a small boat and a big canyon and its river. I can not recommend this book any stronger.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Masterpiece

Would you consider the audio edition of The Emerald Mile to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the book so I cannot judge. The writing itself is superb.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I believe they should have chosen a narrator with a different style to read it. It would have played better in the hands actually voice of someone like Wade Goodwyn of NPR, someone with a western accent who speaks in a plain voice. I felt like the narrator got so caught up with gorgeous prose that he added a bombast and a pretentiousness that detracted from the actual story. The earliest part of his reading was the most tedious. The narrator's style was overplayed which was jarring as a counterpoint to the underplayed style of the river guides and especially Kenton Grua.

Any additional comments?

The book is outstanding. I just finished a boating trip down the Grand Canyon, and the author captured the majesty of the canyon and wild of the river beautifully. I loved learning about the history of the discovery of the canyon, the geology, the history of the guides and their culture, and of course the running of the Emerald Mile. After listening to this book, I believe they should set up an exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum of American History about the Canyon, the Colorado, and keep the Emerald Mile there on display so that all Americans will have greater access to this American story and treasure. The book was deeply moving.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • BR
  • FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA, United States
  • 07-07-15

Great mix of background and gripping story

Loved this book. I learned much about the history of the Colorado and was immersed in the river running stories, culminating in the speed run of the Emerald Mile.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing Writing, Terrible Narration

Any additional comments?

The writing and story are absolutely incredible and made dealing with the narrator worth it. The narrator attempts to add drama unnecessarily through tone and is so over-the-topand bizarre in his choice of places/words to over-emphasize that it distracts from the story itself...he very nearly ruined this amazing book for me. Definitely a fantastic book, just be prepared for very unfortunate narration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best Book In Years!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Emerald Mile to be better than the print version?

Kevin Fedarko wrote wonderful details and descriptions of the people and the history of the Grand Canyon. He also got into the mind and thinking of the main characters.
He kept me on edge about what was going to happen once the ride got started.
I've been to the Grand Canyon and even did a float trip from Glenn Canyon dam to Lee's Ferry. His descriptions were marvelous. This is one book that I will listen to again. I may even buy a hard copy.

What other book might you compare The Emerald Mile to and why?

The only other book I can think of is Atlas Shrugged. Because of great descriptions and the thought provoking ideas.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The very end of the run when they laid down their oars.

Any additional comments?

Great listen!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Amazing, but not so captivating

I love non-fiction adventure stories with some of my all-time favorites being Unbroken, The River of Doubt, The Boys in the Boat, Miracle in the Andes, Endurance, and In the Kingdom of Ice. So, I was really looking forward to this book. The story is compelling and the author does a fantastic job of tying together the discovery of the grand canyon, the development of hydro-electric power in the U.S., the environmental movement in the U.S., and the lifestyles of hard core river rats. All the ingredients seem to exist for this story to be as compelling as those named above, but it fell short for me. I can't really put my finder on the reason, but I really didn't care about any of the many many characters who play a part in the story. I just didn't feel invested because each faction appeared to take an extreme position with no respect for the other side. Unless you have a deep interest in the canyon, hydro-electric power, or whitewater rafting, I suggest that you'll get more entertainment from one of the stories listed above.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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great mix of history and adventure

What did you love best about The Emerald Mile?

I liked the books structure, the authors presentation of more than one perspective, and most of all you got a sense of how much he loved this project and how much the characters love that canyon.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Masterful Writing Puts You in a Dory Boat

This is one of the best books I've listened to in a long time! The prose and descriptive writing style of Fedarko draws you in so you can you visualize the river, the currents, the political tensions, and tremendous feats of the grand canyon river guides. Anyone could pick up a historical book about the Grand Canyon, the Glenn canyon dam and all the related history, but if you want this story to come alive with beautiful writing, The Emerald Mile is the perfect choice! Love it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful