Man’s indomitable need for adventure is the only thing more impressive than the awesome power of nature and the brilliance of technology described in this lovingly rendered retelling of one of the most remarkable events ever to occur inside the Grand Canyon.
In 1983, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, a confluence of unlikely events provided three unique characters with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the fastest to ever race through that singular marvel in a rowboat. How these quirky “dory men” were able to surmount every obstacle thrown in their way and actually attempt this remarkable undertaking is breathtaking enough. But theirs is not the only tale being told. This is the story of the Grand Canyon itself, harkening all the way back to the days when a band of befuddled Conquistadors first stumbled upon its rim and failed to grasp its magnitude. It is also the story of the Glen Canyon Dam, that Herculean feat of human ingenuity that was constructed with the staggering imperative to harness the power of the Colorado River. Former Time staff writer Fedarko’s extensive knowledge of both, coupled with his powers of description, are almost as impressive. Powerful and poetic passages put readers inside the adventurers’ boats, even if they have only ever imagined the Grand Canyon or seen it in pictures. “Every mile or so, the walls opened and gave way to yet another side canyon filled with secret springs and waterfalls,” he writes. “The air was alive with pink-and-lavender dragonflies that paused, twitchingly, on the shafts of their suspended oars.” Each piece of the extensive back story is assembled as lyrically as the epoch-spanning walls of the canyon itself and as assuredly as the soaring concrete face of its dams.
An epic-sized true-life adventure tale that appeals to both the heart and the head.