Two Coots in a Canoe: An Unusual Story of Friendship

Overview

Advance Praise for Two Coots in a Canoe“This is the story of two men in one canoe, but on two different journeys. One sees endless opportunities while the other knows his fate is sealed before he ever picks up his paddle. Fresh and honest, light and dark, terminal yet hopeful—these are the undercurrents of a gifted storyteller.” —Howard Corwin, M.D., Psychiatrist, Conservationist“Two Coots in a Canoe is—nearly to the end—a book of laughter, an account of the comic misadventures of two old friends. . . . And then ...
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Two Coots in a Canoe: An Unusual Story of Friendship

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Overview

Advance Praise for Two Coots in a Canoe“This is the story of two men in one canoe, but on two different journeys. One sees endless opportunities while the other knows his fate is sealed before he ever picks up his paddle. Fresh and honest, light and dark, terminal yet hopeful—these are the undercurrents of a gifted storyteller.” —Howard Corwin, M.D., Psychiatrist, Conservationist“Two Coots in a Canoe is—nearly to the end—a book of laughter, an account of the comic misadventures of two old friends. . . . And then come the final pages: The two friends’ dark destination will surprise and shock all readers, even those with the wits of a wood tick. This remarkable book should be bought and read. Those who do will remember it for a long time.” —Bill Gilbert, author of God Gave Us This Country and winner of the National Magazine Award“Dave Morine has done it again, proving that it is often what you do when you aren’t striving to get ahead that is most important. When you finish this book, you’ll want to drop everything, grab a canoe, and explore your own river.”—George H. Fenwick, President, American Bird Conservancy
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A great story about the mystery of friends and comfort of strangers. . . . John McPhee’s birchbark canoe has nothing over the two coots’ canoe.”
—Spencer B Beebe, President, Ecotrust

 

Two Coots In a Canoe, is—nearly to the end—a book of laughter, an account of the comic misadventures of two old friends as they float down the sunlit Connecticut River. And then come the final pages: The two friends’ dark destination will surprise and shock all readers, even those with the wits of a wood tick. This remarkable book should be bought and read. Those who do will remember it for a long time.”
—Bil Gilbert, author of God Gave Us This Country

 

“Dave ‘Bugsy’ Morine has once again given us a great book.”
—Bill Garrett, former editor, National Geographic Magazine

“When you finish this book, you’ll want to drop everything, grab a canoe, and explore your own river.”
—George H. Fenwick, President, American Bird Conservancy

 “[Two Coots in a Canoe] is less about the people whom the canoers meet along the way (although they do encounter a colorful assortment) and the communities they discover than it is about the relationship between the two men and the startling, tragic turn it will take. A book that will entertain you and make you laugh until, at the end, it makes you want to cry.”
—Booklist

From the Publisher
“Fans of Dave Morine will be delighted and not at all surprised that his newest work, Two Coots In a Canoe, is—nearly to the end—a book of laughter, an account of the comic misadventures of two old friends as they float down the sunlit Connecticut River. And then come the final pages: The two friends’ dark destination will surprise and shock all readers, even those with the wits of a wood tick. This remarkable book should be bought and read. Those who do will remember it for a long time.”—Bil Gilbert, author of God Gave Us This Country and winner of the National Magazine Award “A great story about the mystery of friends and comfort of strangers. Dave is not just the supreme conversationalist but also the original conservationist; he virtually defined the art and practice of private land conservation in the 70's and 80's. No one engages people the way he does. His journeys are always worth sharing. John McPhee's birchbark canoe has nothing over two coot's canoe.” —Spencer B. Beebe, President, Ecotrust “Dave ‘Bugsy’ Morine has once again given us a great book—an adventure story that I would have published when editor of National Geographic Magazine.” —Bill Garrett “This is the story of two men in one canoe, but on two different journeys. One sees endless opportunities while the other knows his fate is sealed before he ever picks up his paddle. Fresh and honest, light and dark, terminal yet hopeful—these are the undercurrents of a gifted storyteller who undertakes a modern adventure down a storied river valley. Enjoy Dave Morine’s tale: he is a wonderful raconteur.” —Howard Corwin, M.D., psychiatrist, conservationist “Dave Morine has done it again, proving that it is often what you do when you aren’t striving to get ahead that is most important. When you finish this book, you’ll want to drop everything, grab a canoe, and explore your own river.” —George H. Fenwick, President, American Bird Conservancy “It has been said Dave Morine never let truth get in the way of a good story, that this is all true makes it that much better a story—about a friendship and a river. The river conservation message is inspiring.” —Rebecca R. Wodder, President of American Rivers“I just finished my journey down the Connecticut River with Dave Morine and Ramsay Peard, and couldn't wait to share this recommendation with armchair adventurers everywhere. . . . I found good reading (and fascinating people) around every bend in the river. The ending makes all the more poignant their happy, revealing reliance on the kindness of strangers.” —Doug Wheeler, former Executive Director, Sierra Club “Morine’s account of the trip suggests Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat (1889), but it’s a bit more serious than that… The book is less about the people whom the canoers meet along the way (although they do encounter a colorful assortment) and the communities they discover than it is about the relationship between the two men and the startling, tragic turn it will take. A book that will entertain you and make you laugh until, at the end, it makes you want to cry.” - Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762770366
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,375,985
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David E. Morine is a Boston-area native who was the head of land acquisition for The Nature Conservancy from 1972 to 1990. He is the author of five books, including Good Dirt: Confessions of a Conservationist

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Recipe


In January 2003, retired CEO Ramsay Peard asked longtime conservationist and friend David “Bugsy” Morine if he wanted to canoe the four-hundred-mile-long Connecticut River. These old buddies hadn’t seen each other in twenty years, but they had shared a few previous adventures so Morine readily agreed—under one condition: No camping. “I’m too old to be sleeping on the ground, cooking over an open fire, and crapping in the woods,” Morine told Peard, “and so are you.”

“Where will we stay?” Peard asked.

“We’ll rely on the kindness of strangers.”

And that’s what they did. Mooching their way downriver enabled these vintage voyagers to get an insider’s feel for the area and a firsthand look at many of the issues confronting the people who live along the Connecticut: the demise of farming, the growth of the health care industry, the loss of manufacturing, the boom in higher education, gay rights, Native American rights, Wal-Mart versus Main Street, and the issue closest to home—the river and the conservation efforts to protect it.

They were also able to delve deep into the lives of complete strangers. But sadly for Morine, he eventually realized that the one life he never dug into was Peard’s. After spending a month with him in a canoe, he had no idea that his friend’s innermost thoughts were on a dark and disturbing course.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2009

    Wonderful Account of a Renewed Friendship Under Stressful Conditions

    This is a very entertaining read about two old friends from college days.
    Every chapter describes an encounter with a local character and their unique take on life. It's heartwarming, riveting, honest, witty, cynical and enlightening. A great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2011

    He keeps it simple.

    I am an old coot about the age of Ramsey and Bugsy so can relate to their outlook on life. It was an a most enjoyable read for someone my age, but the younger generation would probably give this book three stars. David Morine does a great job of describing 400 miles of travel in 250 pages. I liked the book and would recommend it to any book club.

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  • Posted December 2, 2009

    A Fine Tale of River Adventure

    Although a fine piece of writing, "Two Coots in a Canoe" is a difficult book to classify because of its multiple themes. Mr. Morine tells how he and Ramsay, an old friend from business school, paddled the length of the Connecticut River. However, this book is only partly a tale of river "adventure." It documents the river's changing character, but unlike accounts of voyageur Alexander Mackenzie or river guide Sigurd Olson which describe virgin places, the Connecticut is no longer wild. It is tidal in southern Connecticut and relatively open in New Hampshire/Vermont. In between, its flow is interrupted repeatedly by dams in old New England industrial towns. The author describes how the river has been altered by its neighbors. In Hartford the Connecticut is hardly in a natural state, but the city has treated the river with respect. The Connecticut is a jewel of Hartford's downtown business district. In contrast, Springfield, just 27 miles north of Hartford uses it as a dump. Elsewhere, the river has been given a chance to recover, and eagles and other wildlife have returned.

    The book's second theme is conservation. Part of the purpose of this trip was for Morine to meet people from local conservation groups who seek help in preserving land along the river. (The author spent most of his working life in charge of land acquisition for The Nature Conservancy.) Yet his approach to conservation is not what one might expect. Morine is not emotional or doctrinaire (at one point, he cringes at the prospect of meeting a "true believer" in the movement). He is analytical. He approaches the subject as a businessman and provides practical advice to local groups (and readers) who seek insights into land preservation.

    The third, and possibly most engaging, aspect is the description of people they met along the trip. Morine is a perceptive judge of character and is a delightful raconteur. At age 60 he accepted the invitation to paddle the Connecticut on condition that he wouldn't actually have to sleep in a tent, cook on an open fire or portage the canoe. These restrictions would have been a non-starter for the voyageurs, but even in modern times, motels are seldom located at convenient take-outs along the river. The answer was to mooch off folks from the local conservation groups. Arrangements were made in advance including transportation of the canoe between handy access points. Problem solved. Boarding with local residents provided Morine an assortment of interesting folks about which to write. His sponsoring organization invested him with authority to make grants for projects that met certain requirements. Readers experience disappointment when a host's worthy project must be rejected and satisfaction when an initially unsuitable project is re-worked so that it qualifies for a grant.

    The final theme is mental health. "Two Coots in a Canoe" would stand without this theme. However, mental health turned out to be integral to the story. The book wouldn't exist if Ramsay hadn't suggested the trip. Ramsay made most of the arrangements. A sense of foreboding develops regarding Ramsay. But the foreboding tone is informed the author's knowledge of subsequent events. As perceptive as Mr. Morine is, he did not anticipate the events that give the book its unusual quality. Ramsay called it the "trip of a lifetime," but was unable to use it to build further adventures. Neither Mr. Morine nor the reader understands why.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2011

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