Cover image for Canoes : a natural history in North America / Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims ; foreword by John McPhee.
Title:
Canoes : a natural history in North America / Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims ; foreword by John McPhee.
Author:
ISBN:
9780816681174

9780816681181
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, MN : University of Minnesota Press, [2016]

©2016
Physical Description:
xxxiv, 370 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), color maps ; 22 x 27 cm
Contents:
Foreword. Scenes from a life in canoes / John McPhee -- Introduction -- Dugout canoes. Napolean Sanford -- Birch-bark canoes. Elm-bark canoes -- The oldest birch-bark canoe -- The fur trade. The Algonquin fur trade -- Frances Anne Hopkins -- All-wood canoes. Jule Fox Marshall -- Wood-and-canvas canoes. Tom Seavey -- Canoe sails -- Synthetic canoes. Canoe patents -- Canoes in wartime -- Square-stern canoes -- The human-powered movement. Paddles -- Canoe packs -- Canoe tripping.
Abstract:
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. Neuzil and Simms tell 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.
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1 Nechako Branch 623.829 NEU Book Adult General Collection
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Summary

Summary

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.

In the foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winner John McPhee, we dip into the experience of canoeing, from the thrilling challenges of childhood camp expeditions to the moving reflections of long-time paddlers. The pages that follow are filled with historical photographs and artwork, authors Neuzil and Sims describe the dugout and birch bark craft from their first known appearance through the exploration of Canada by fur traders, to the recreational movements that promoted all-wood and wood-and-canvas canoes. Modern materials such as aluminum, fiberglass, and plastic expanded participation and connected canoeists with emerging environmental movements.

Finally, Canoes lets us hear the voices of past paddlers like Alexander Mackenzie, the first European to cross North America, using birch bark and dugout canoes a decade before Lewis and Clark went overland, Henry Thoreau, Eric Sevareid, Edwin Tappan Adney, and others. Their stories are a tribute to the First Peoples who, 500 or 1,000 or even 5,000 years ago, built a craft designed to such perfection that it has plied the waters fundamentally unchanged ever since.


Author Notes

Mark Neuzil is a 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. A former wilderness guide and summer park ranger, Neuzil is an avid outdoorsman who began canoeing in the 1960s with his family. He is a past board member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Friends of the Mississippi River.

Norman Sims is a retired honors professor from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a past president of the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies. This is his sixth book. A longtime whitewater canoeist and an active member of both the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association, Sims has a small collection of antique Morris wood-and-canvas canoes.

John McPhee is the author of more than thirty books, including Encounters with the Archdruid (1971), The Survival of the Bark Canoe (19 75), and Coming into the Country (1977). Since 1963, his articles and all of his books have appeared in The New Yorker magazine. He received the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World in 1999. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


Table of Contents

Foreword: Scenes from a Life in CanoesJohn McPhee
Introduction
1 Dugout Canoes
Napoleon Sanford: The Important Thing is You and the Wood
2 Birch Bark Canoes
Elm Bark Canoes
The Oldest Birch Bark Canoe
3 Fur Trade and Exploration
The Algonquin Fur Trade
Frances Anne Hopkins
4 All-Wood Canoes
Jule Fox Marshall
5 Wood-and-Canvas Canoes
Tom Seavey: More Than Just the World
Canoe Sails
6 The Rise of the Synthetic Canoe
Canoe Patents
Canoes in Wartime
Square-stern Canoes
7 Canoes and the Human-Powered Movement
Paddles
Canoe Packs
8 Journeys: Canoe Tripping
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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