October is the best month on the Brazos...especially the part near Fort Worth, where John Graves grew up. As a boy he hunted, fished and camped by the river. He cherished its stories...pillage and murder, friendship and foolery, that gave names to the bends and crossings. Thus the Brazos took on special meaning for him.
In 1957 he learned the river would be dammed, drowning much he remembered. So he took a belated canoe trip on it, alone, to bid it farewell. This is the narrative of that trip -- three rain-soaked, wind-driven autumn weeks, bucking rapids, scraping sudden rocks, making and breaking camp.
"Every rare gift of blue-golden weather, every bird, every tale of violence and pride, is remembered with the keenness of the last goodbye." (B-O-T Editorial Review Board)
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In the 1950s, a series of dams was proposed along the Brazos River in north-central Texas. For John Graves, this project meant that if the stream's regimen was thus changed, the beautiful and sometimes brutal surrounding countryside would also change, as would the lives of the people whose rugged ancestors had eked out an existence there. Graves therefore decided to visit that stretch of the river, which he had known intimately as a youth.
Goodbye to a River" is his account of that farewell canoe voyage. As he braves rapids and fatigue and the fickle autumn weather, he muses upon old blood feuds of the region and violent skirmishes with native tribes, and retells wild stories of courage and cowardice and deceit that shaped both the river's people and the land during frontier times and later. Nearly half a century after its initial publication, Goodbye to a River is a true American classic, a vivid narrative about an exciting journey and a powerful tribute to a vanishing way of life and its ever-changing natural environment.
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