Goodbye to a river: a narrative

Front Cover
Knopf, 1960 - History - 306 pages
48 Reviews
In the 1950s, a series of dams was proposed along the Brazos River in north-central Texas. For John Graves, this project meant that if the streamís regimen was thus changed, the beautiful and sometimes brutal surrounding countryside would also change, as would the lives of the people whose rugged ancestors had eked out an existence there. Graves therefore decided to visit that stretch of the river, which he had known intimately as a youth.

Goodbye to a River is his account of that farewell canoe voyage. As he braves rapids and fatigue and the fickle autumn weather, he muses upon old blood feuds of the region and violent skirmishes with native tribes, and retells wild stories of courage and cowardice and deceit that shaped both the riverís people and the land during frontier times and later. Nearly half a century after its initial publication, Goodbye to a River is a true American classic, a vivid narrative about an exciting journey and a powerful tribute to a vanishing way of life and its ever-changing natural environment.

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I love Graves' writing style. - Goodreads
Briefly, this is an exquisite piece of writing. - Goodreads
John Graves is great - when he's writing about Texas. - Goodreads
It just seeps from his writing. - Goodreads

Review: Goodbye to a River: A Narrative

User Review  - Barbara Brannon - Goodreads

John Graves was a master of poetry in Texas prose, couching his narrative of canoeing the Brazos River in 1957 (the year the great drought broke) with a canine companion and a fly rod, in sounds and ... Read full review

Review: Goodbye to a River: A Narrative

User Review  - Kim - Goodreads

In many ways, this is a beautifully written book with the occasionally stunning turn of phrase. It's notable that the book apparently had a pivotal effect on the decision not to build the expansive ... Read full review


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About the author (1960)

John Graves is the curator of ships history at the National Maritime Museum.