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Drawing on rarely examined diaries and journals, Down the Great Unknown is the first book to tell the full, dramatic story of the Powell expedition.
On May 24, 1869 a one-armed Civil War veteran, John Wesley Powell and a ragtag band of nine mountain men embarked on the last great quest in the American West. The Grand Canyon, not explored before, was as mysterious as Atlantis—and as perilous. The ten men set out from Green River Station, Wyoming Territory down the Colorado in four wooden rowboats. Ninety-nine days later, six half-starved wretches came ashore near Callville, Arizona.
Lewis and Clark opened the West in 1803, six decades later Powell and his scruffy band aimed to resolve the West’s last mystery. A brilliant narrative, a thrilling journey, a cast of memorable heroes—all these mark Down the Great Unknown, the true story of the last epic adventure on American soil.
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Edward Dolnick's Down the Great Unknown depicts the "last epic journey on American soil," John Wesley Powell's exploration of the Grand Canyon and the fulminating, carnivorous Colorado River. The book, a model of precision, clarity, and serene passion, outshines, arguably, its bestselling brother-volume, Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage.
On May 24, 1869, Powell, an ambitious, autocratic, one-armed Civil War veteran and amateur scientist, and a casually recruited crew of nine--without a lick of white water experience--embarked from an obscure railroad stop in the Wyoming Territory to travel through a region "scarcely better known than Atlantis." Ninety-nine days, 1,000 miles and nearly 500 rapids later, six of the men came ashore in Arizona--the first humans to run the waters of the Grand Canyon. Dolnick tells this story of courage, naiveté, hardship, and petty squabbling simply and authoritatively using entries from the men's journals, deft overviews (we always know where we are), and short science, history, and psychology lessons, as well as the prodigious knowledge of present-day river runners and his own first-hand observations. His prose carries the day: Powell looks like a "stick of beef jerky adorned with whiskers," the boats are "walnut shells," which in rapids are little better than "ladybugs caught in a hose's blast" or "drunks trying to negotiate a revolving door," while the river is a "taunting bully," a "colossal mugger," a "sumo wrestler smothering a kitten," and a notable rock formation looks like what might happen if "Edward Gorey had designed the Bat Cave."
Down the Great Unknown brushes against perfection. This is history written as it should be--and too rarely is: enthusiastic, rigorous, painterly, gloriously free of both pedantry and hyperbole. --H. O'BillovitchFrom the Back Cover:
0n May 24, 1869, a one-armed Civil War veteran named John Wesley Powell and a ragtag band of nine mountain men embarked on the last great quest in the American West. No one had ever explored the fabled Grand Canyon; to adventurers of that era it was a region almost as mysterious as Atlantis -- and as perilous.
The ten men set out down the mighty Colorado River in wooden rowboats. Six survived. Drawing on rarely examined diaries and journals, Down the Great Unknown is the first book to tell the full, true story.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishing, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Seller Inventory # S_205057311
Book Description HarperCollins Publishing. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Book has appearance of light use with no easily noticeable wear. Seller Inventory # G096533418XI4N00
Book Description Harpercollins, New York, 2002. Hard Cover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. Third Printing. 367 pages. Black binding with gold letteing on spine. Map of area traveled on endpapers. Sedtion of glossy B/W illustrations following page 180. Dust Jacket has couple of small tears at top of spine by front and back covers. Minor wear to Dust Jacket corner tips. Photos of book on request. Seller Inventory # 008395
Book Description HarperCollins Publishing, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Seller Inventory # S_212488742
Book Description HarperCollins, New York, 2001. hardcover. Condition: Fine copy in fine dust jacket. Illus. with photos (illustrator). Later prt. edition.. 8vo, 367 pp. Seller Inventory # 068189
Book Description Harper, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: Used - Very Good. HarperCollins, 2001- Hardback w/title band in very good condition. Boards are colorful and illustrated. Backstrip has been bumped. SKU-4123761 2001-11-01. Seller Inventory # SKU-4123761
Book Description Example Product Manufacturer, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Hardcover. Sound & good copy, light to moderate edgewear. Jacket has light to moderate rubbing/edgewear. Not price clipped. May not be available for international shipment at usual rates due to weight/size. Seller Inventory # 868343n
Book Description HarperCollins. Condition: Used - Very Good. 2001. Hardcover. Very Good. Seller Inventory # Z0159860
Book Description HarperCollins, New York, 2001. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Hardbound, 367 pages. Contains black & white photography. Book Club edition. Light edgewear, rubbing to dust jacket. Record # 500900. Seller Inventory # 500900