Goodbye to a river: a narrative

Front Cover
Knopf, Jun 27, 1960 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
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 stream’s 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 river’s 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

A reference to this book in Larry McMurtry's memoir prompted me to read it, and I'm glad I did. Graves canoed part of the Brazos River before a series of dams were built and writes about his trip ... Read full review

Review: Goodbye to a River: A Narrative

User Review  - Paul - Goodreads

Briefly, this is an exquisite piece of writing. Significant stretches compel one to read aloud (or to someone). It's just a beautiful book which reveals the natural and historical story of a small part of Texas with grace and insight. I adore it. Read full review


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About the author (1960)

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