Across America by Boat
Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140298604, 528pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2001
In his most ambitious journey ever, William Least Heat-Moon sets off aboard a small boat 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, often following in the wakes of our most famous explorers, from Henry Hudson to Lewis and Clark.
En route, the voyagers confront massive floods, dangerous weather, and their own doubts about whether they can complete the trip. But the hard days yield incomparable pleasures: generous strangers, landscapes untouched since Sacajawea 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.
Teeming with humanity, humor, and high adventure, River-Horse is an unsentimental and original arteriogram of our nation at the millennium.
"Heat-Moon's exuberant erudition propels the reader with historical vignettes, ecological and geological detail, and often hilarious encounters with local eccentrics." --Time
"Heat-Moon's prose is clear, straight-forward and lively and his vision unclouded." --Chicago Sun-Times