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Publisher's Summary

In this abridgement of River-Horse, the pre-eminent chronicler of American back roads - who has given us the classics Blue Highways and Prairyerth - recounts his singular voyage through American waters from sea to sea. Along the route, he offers a lyrical and ceaselessly fascinating shipboard perspective on the country and its rivers, lakes, canals, and landscapes. Brimming with history, drama, and wisdom, River-Horse belongs in the pantheon of American travel literature.

In his most ambitious journey ever, Heat-Moon sets off aboard a small boat he named Nikawa ("river horse" in Osage) from the Atlantic at New York Harbor in hopes of entering the Pacific near Astoria, Oregon. He and his companion, Pilotis, struggle to cover some 5,000 watery miles - more than any other cross-country river traveler has ever managed - often following in the wakes of our most famous explorers, from Henry Hudson to Lewis and Clark.

En route, the voyagers confront massive floods, submerged rocks, dangerous weather, and their own doubts about whether they can complete the trip. But the hard days yield up incomparable pleasures: strangers generous with help and eccentric tales, landscapes unchanged since Sacagawea saw them, riverscapes flowing with a lively past, and the growing belief that efforts to protect our lands and waters are beginning to pay off. And, throughout its course, the expedition enjoys coincidences so breathtaking as to suggest the intervention of a divine and witty Providence.

Teeming with humanity and high adventure, Heat-Moon's account is an unsentimental and original arteriogram of our nation at the edge of the Millennium.

©1999 William Least Heat-Moon (P)1999 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Interesting travel story with history

Where does River Horse rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Somewhere in the middle

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

What I expected - appropriate based on the non-fiction style.

What about Jay O. Sanders’s performance did you like?

I felt like I was in the story, on the boat with them.

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

There were a number - I liked the moments with the locals along the river.

Any additional comments?

Big emphasis on the front part of the trip in New York, but interesting trip and fun listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

A wonderful river trip

After blue highways I knew that I had to listen to river house. The adventures of seeking ones need to find out about the unknown was wonderfully depicted in this book. Sometimes he can rattle on but I found the book a reminder to face our challenges are pursue those yearnings.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A lot of rookie mistakes

This guy makes a lot of rookie mistakes for a cross country transition. Handheld GPS that they don't really know how to use Give me a break. Should have had a permanently mounted chart plotter at the helm with duel screen forward scanning sonar. Didn't have a clue regarding wave height difference between Lake Erie and the Columbia river mouth. It's all about duration of the ground swell not height. Preplaning the waypoints route on a electronic chart would've made it a lot easier. Using a Balsawood cored bottom on the hull of the boat is not a great idea if your going to run aground a lot. Long-term that hull will be waterlogged and worthless.
Setting that aside interesting storytelling and overall a fun book to read

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • KR
  • 04-13-18

Back to a memorable past where boating is life

What did you love best about River Horse?

From Atlantic to Pacific, through Dams & Locks, this little boat brought you back to the past time where water is blue and mountain is gree, fishes still jumping in the river. Through this journey, one can enjoy the wonderful landscape, but also noted that many had been changed in the past 200 years. A wonderful book.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Charles
  • Salley, SC, United States
  • 02-10-17

Save your money

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

No one.

Would you ever listen to anything by William Least Heat-Moon again?

Probably not. I think he's maybe a one book wonder.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jay O. Sanders?

Narration was okay , I guess. I don't know of many other narrators so I can't say.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

Two totally unprepared undividuals make such stupid mistakes like poor planning and just not cut out for adventure.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unfortunately Abridged

I started reading the book which is think and extremely detailed about all the places they went. I think the author pulls off the detail. But I couldn't find this unabridged in audio and these days it's the only way I seem to be able to get through books. The editing is fine I

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

William Least Heat Moon

One of my favorites since reading Blue Hiways. However his style has changed over the years. Still excellent story teller but gratuitous cursing will turn some away. Used in appropriate settings, I found my attention drawn from the story and questioning in what way did this enhance the read? Other than that, the author is still one of my favorites and I recommend River Horse.