Ancient records of canoes are found from the Pacific Northwest to the coast of Maine, in Minnesota and Mexico, in the Southeast, and across the Caribbean. And if a native of those distant times might
Ancient records of canoes are found from the Pacific Northwest to the coast of Maine, in Minnesota and Mexico, in the Southeast, and across the Caribbean. And if a native of those distant times might encounter a canoe of our day—whether birch bark or dugout or a modern marvel made of carbon fiber—its silhouette would be instantly recognizable.
This is the story of that singular American artifact, so little changed over time: of canoes, old and new, the people who made them, and the labors and adventures they shared.
With features of technology, industry, art, and survival, the canoe carries us deep into the natural and cultural history of North America.
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is professor of communication and journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of seven books and a frequent writer and speaker on environmental themes.
is a retired honors professor from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and past president of the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies. This is his sixth book.
is the author of nearly thirty books, including The Survival of the Bark Canoe and Coming into the Country. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for Annals of the Former World.
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"Organized around a canoe's building materials (birch bark, wood, metal) and uses (the fur trade, modern recreation), this richly illustrated history will entrance any, and they are many, who have taken a paddle in hand. Written by avid canoeists, it begins with the finely crafted, versatile Native American vessels that so impressed colonizing Europeans with their perfect suitability to navigating the rivers and lakes of North America. The new arrivals, especially the French, adapted the canoe to the tasks of exploration and trade with Indian tribes."
"The interesting text is complemented by numerous photographs, drawings and paintings — including many old photos — making this an enjoyable read for those who enjoy canoes, nature or history."
— Metroland Media
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"Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims have written a wonderfully detailed biography of the vessel that made North America possible, treating it as a living, breathing personality. As enjoyable as a swift, steady, and smooth river, this is the ideal book for canoeists—the perfect canoe trip of a read."
— Roy MacGregor, author of Canoe Country: The Making of Canada
"Canoes is that rare cultural history that manages to transport through its very subject: the North American canoe. This book is fascinating and thorough and wonderfully accessible. It?s also the definitive work on the single most important conveyance in this continent?s rich past. It?ll carry you away like a beautifully crafted cedar strip canoe."
— Peter Geye, author of Wintering