This candid account of the author's two-week canoe trip down the Hudson River offers an introspective and humorous look at both the river and Recession-Era America. New to fatherhood and fresh from ten years in an Alaskan village, Mike Freeman sets out to relearn his country, and realizes it's in a far greater midlife crisis than he could ever be. With an eye on the Hudson's past, he addresses America's present anxieties-from race, gender, and marriage to energy, labor, and warfare-with empathy and honesty, acknowledging the difficulties surrounding each issue without succumbing to pessimism or ideology.
From the river's headwaters in the Adirondacks, Freeman follows the Hudson south through America's first industrial ghost towns, where ruin begs for rebirth. Next is the Hudson Valley and the river's 153-mile estuary, with its once-teeming fisheries. Here, agriculture is redefining itself, while at West Point, officer candidates train for America's murky modern wars. The Hudson Highlands, too, are prominent, the place where Americans first wed God to nature, and where the mountains remain a potent place to mull that bond. From there it's on to Manhattan, with its skyline that symbolizes the world's financial might as well as its startling fragility.
As controversial as it is comforting, Freeman's narrative makes us think in hard ways about America as the country itself drifts toward an uncertain future. But throughout, of course, is the magnificent Hudson, whose resilient beauty speaks well both to nature's toughness and America's greatest strength-the ability to redirect and change course when necessary.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Drifting is just a great read, especially in this post election time of sound bites and shouting matches. The author takes the reader on a reflective journey through one of our nations most historic regions, and without anger or ideology, steers us toward a rational, middle ground solution to some of our most challenging problems. The book is fused with nature and humor as we come to understand the recovering Hudson River as a powerful and hopeful metaphor for America.