Mississippi Madness: Canoening the Mississippi

Nicholas Francis, Author, William Butcher, Author
Nicholas Francis, Author, William Butcher, Author Oxford Illustrated Press $26.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-946609-94-9
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
It is 3810 miles from Three Forks, Mont. (source of the Missouri River, which flows into the Mississippi River in eastern Missouriok? some of us (no names) are geography ignoramuses ), to the point where the Mississippi meets the Gulf of Mexico. In 1977 Francis, a lecturer in Paris, paddled his kayak the entire distance to raise funds for cancer research in England--and succeeded in setting a record for solo canoeing. The expedition was underfinanced and loosely organized; the estimated time of eight weeks stretched to five months, and the ok to delete? distracts from Francis's having canoed solo.eed five-man support team dwindled to three before he reached the Mississippi. Some of Francis's experiences were frightening: capsizing, a tornado, whirlpools, fog. Once he came ashore at night only to find that he had landed in a state penitentiary; on several occasions he missed connections with the team. Butcher, publicist for the expedition, arranged civic receptions in Omaha, St. Louis and New Orleans. The authors describe paddling the lower Mississippi as a death race through the shipping lanes; they conclude that the beauty of the river is inseparable from its violence. Readers who enjoyed Jonathan Raban's Old Glory will like this yarn. Illustrations. (Mar.)
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