A Personal Exploration of the Arkansas River

Book - 2018
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"The upper Arkansas River courses through the heart of America from its headwaters near the Continental Divide above Leadville, Colorado, to Arkansas City, just above the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Max McCoy embarked on a trip of 742 miles in search of the river's unique story. Part adventure and part reflection, steeped in the natural and cultural history of the Arkansas Valley, Elevations is McCoy's account of that journey. Going by kayak when he can--by Jeep, on foot, or by other means when he has to--McCoy takes us with him, navigating the Arkansas River as it reveals its nature and tests his own. Along the way, and when he isn't battling the current for his overturned kayak; braving a frigid Christmas Eve along the river; or joining the search for a drowning victim, he steps out to explore the world beyond the river's banks. Here for instance is Camp Amache, where Japanese Americans were imprisoned during World War II. Here is Ludlow, where thirteen women and children died in a standoff between striking coal miners and the militia in 1914. Farther along we find Sand Creek, site of a massacre by US soldiers in 1864, and, uncomfortably close, Garden City, where white supremacists were charged with planning a terror attack on Somali refugees in 2016. Whether traveling back in time, pausing in the present, or looking forward, Elevations captures the Arkansas River in its thrilling moments and placid stretches, in its natural splendor and degradation at human hands. The book shows us the river as a flowing repository of human history and, in the telling of this gifted writer, as a life-changing experience. "--
"Rivers have long held a fascination for people around the world, and river stories have been an important genre of American literature. Part travelogue, part natural and cultural history, Elevations follows the author on a personal journey and the river as it connects landscapes, histories, and people. Max McCoy travels the underappreciated and overlooked Arkansas River, which rises in Colorado and passes through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas before flowing into the Mississippi. Elevations sticks to Colorado and Kansas; the rationale is both logistical (the book is already 120K words) and functional, as the river fundamentally changes after it crosses into Oklahoma, becoming a much more tightly controlled commercial waterway. The personal side of the journey involves the usual Wild-like nature memoir material: family, marriage, trying not to die in the outdoors. The historical/cultural side includes Baby Doe Tabor, the Sand Creek Massacre, Dodge City, earthquakes, and more"--
Publisher: Lawrence, KS :, University Press of Kansas,, [2018]
ISBN: 9780700626021
Branch Call Number: 976.73 McCoy 04/2018
Characteristics: 306 pages ;,24 cm


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An unflinchingly honest author brings an investigative journalist's eye to a journey along the Arkansas River.

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