Canoeist: A Memoir

Overview

An ardent canoeist for more than forty-five years, John Manuel was first introduced to the solace, natural wonder and exhilaration of canoeing while growing up on the Chagrin River in Ohio, paddling an old Grumman canoe under the scrutiny of his father. Decades later, as he watches his elderly dad succumb to cancer, Manuel recalls this initiation into a lifetime of canoeing with both fondness and confusion. What was the allure of rivers? Was it the challenge of rapids, the natural beauty his father had known? Or ...
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Overview

An ardent canoeist for more than forty-five years, John Manuel was first introduced to the solace, natural wonder and exhilaration of canoeing while growing up on the Chagrin River in Ohio, paddling an old Grumman canoe under the scrutiny of his father. Decades later, as he watches his elderly dad succumb to cancer, Manuel recalls this initiation into a lifetime of canoeing with both fondness and confusion. What was the allure of rivers? Was it the challenge of rapids, the natural beauty his father had known? Or was it the need to pursue his own life, to escape from home and family expectations?

At times rollicking and playful as the rapids it portrays, The Canoeist also possesses a rare emotional depth. Manuel gives us a vivid picture of his own human experience of falling in love, its elation and heart-rending turns; the intimate connection among paddling friends; the fight to save the natural places he reveres; the frustration and joy of bringing children into the canoeing life. Chapters named for a dozen eastern rivers carry the reader from such historic events as the fire on the Cuyahoga River and anti-Nixon demonstrations in Washington D.C. to the wild and some times dangerous watersheds of Manuel’s life. In part an ode to rivers, The Canoeist also affirms the vital importance of family and friends, and reveals a portrait of America in changing times.

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What People Are Saying

Lee Smith
A parable of conservation and community...a fast and absorbing ride.
—(Lee Smith, author, The Last Girls)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780971897472
  • Publisher: Jefferson Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Pages: 244
  • Sales rank: 1,041,230
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Manuel is the author of The Natural Traveler Along North Carolina's Coast. His articles have appeared in publications such as Audubon, Backpacker, and Canoe & Kayak. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
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