The author of Blue Highways and PrairyErth "takes us on a lifetime voyage full of imagery, insight and appreciation." --Cleveland Plain Dealer 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.
The odd thing is that his strange way of writing, so irritating when you first encounter it, seems to grow on you: after the first three or four chapters, I was really enjoying it. Technically it's terrible, but it has such warmth and energy and personality that, whilst you wouldn't want to play Scrabble with him, you do rather get to like the author, groaning bad-pun-style whenever he comes up with a ridiculously obscure way of saying something very simple.
The boat-trip is quite fun too, and WLHM’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the geography and history of the USA combines very well with his sharp eye for the damage that people have done to its “wilderness” environments.