In 1789, Alexander Mackenzie travelled the 1,125 miles of the immense river in Canada that now bears his name, in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, only to confront impassable pack ice. In 2016, the acclaimedmemoirist Brian Castner retraced Mackenzie's route by canoe in a grueling journey -- and discovered the Passage he could not find.Disappointment River is a dual historical narrative and travel memoir that at once transports readers back to the heroic age of North American exploration and places them in a still rugged but increasingly fragile Arctic wilderness in the process of profound alteration by the dual forces of energy extraction and climate change. Eleven years before Lewis and Clark, the Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie actually crossed the North American continent with a team of voyageurs and Native guides. Before that he was the first to discover a route to the Arctic Ocean from the Great Lakes, along the river he named "Disappointment" because he believed he'd failed in his mission to find a trade route to the riches of the East. In fact he had -- he was just two-plus centuries early. In this book, Brian Castner not only retells the story of Mackenzie's epic voyages in vivid prose, he personally retraces his travels in an 1,125-mile canoe voyage down the river that bears his name, battling exhaustion, exposure, mosquitoes, white water rapids and the threat of bears. He transports readers to a world rarely glimpsed in the media, of tar sands, thawing permafrost, remote Native villages and, at the end, a wide open Arctic Ocean that is quickly becoming a far-northern Mississippi of barges and pipelines and oil money....
|Title||:||Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage|
|Number of Pages||:||352 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Disappointment » Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage|
Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage Reviews
Disappointment River was a bit of a disappointment. It's the kind of book I should have really enjoyed. The author decides to recreate Alexander Mackenzie's historic voyage up the 1100-mile-long Canadian river that bears his name. Cool idea! But I was bored almost the whole time I was reading the book.
First, there is way too much uninteresting history. I love history, as long as it is well-written, but this history didn't read like a cohesive narrative so much as a bunch of little related snippe ...more
My 92 year old cousin suggested this book to me, knowing how much I enjoy books on exploration and re-exploration. The first 100 pages are a history of Alexander MacKenzie (no known relation) but for me the book really begins when Castner/MacKenzie arrive at the Grand Portage. I grew up canoeing in northern Minnesota but never knew that the Voyageurs came together every year at the Grand Portage. There were several other familiar places and of course the mosquitoes were another bond.
I liked the ...more
Marco Polo. Columbus. Magellan. Henry Hudson. Captain Cook. Alexander Mackenzie. Lewis & Clark....Mackenzie? We know the names of the great explorers (for both good and bad)--with one big exception. Alexander Mackenzie. I had read something about him as a kid and was fascinated by his story. Finally,with Castner's book published in 2018, we have the complete story of his life--and his epic journey in 1789 across a vast almost completely uninhabited land which today is called "the Northwest T ...more
A highly-enjoyable tale of a historic canoe journey and a modern day trip to trace the original path. More historical and travel journal than adventure, but Castner does a good job of putting you in the heart of the Mackenzie River. I got itchy just thinking about the mosquito swarms!
This was a giveaway win for me. The blurb caught my interest, the book held my interest. Very nice mix of researched history with the authors personal experiences running side by side.
I must admit I learned quite s bit of historical facts scattered through out this book. Highly recommended for Canadian history buffs
A really fascinating subject but ultimately disappointing due to writing style
See my Amazon review: https://www.amazon.com/review/R3JE147...
Not quite what I expected, but more. A reflective account of several lives connected by a tumultuous river. Reading this book I was reminded that beyond our tame exiatences is passion, unpredictability, the unexpected, and for some of those still bold, the lure of discovery. I would not embark on such a joorney, but the author made it possible to share his adventure emotionally and mentally.
This well-crafted memoir/biography takes the reader on an intense journey into the history of Alexander Mackenzie's exploration of northwest passage as we follow the author make the same journey 200 years later.. Wow. Well done!