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Extended Audio Sample Goodbye to a River Audiobook, by John Graves Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (283 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Graves Narrator: Henry Strozier Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 1960 ISBN: 9781436147194
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A three-week trip down the Brazos River, into which is woven a history of the people who have lived along its banks-Indians, settlers, warriors, and wanderers.

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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Quotes & Awards

  • “One of the most pleasing books I’ve ever read. I love the way it weaves together remote history, not so remote history, present events, and landscape.”

    Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

  • “John Graves’ writing is invaluable…The reader who misses Graves will have missed much.”

    Larry McMurtry, New York Times bestselling author of Lonesome Dove

  • “Graves’ originality and flair turn this local scene and regional lore into an honest and powerfully evocative picture of frontier life anywhere.”

    Chicago Sunday Tribune

  • “As you read, you have the feeling that the whole colorful, brutal tapestry of the Lone Star State is being unrolled for you out of the biography of this one stream.”

    Atlantic Monthly

  • “Henry Strozier’s dry, definitive tones cause no misgivings as to historical or even geological veracity. This journey along the condemned river in chilly November is both a poignant farewell and an anecdotal history lesson of Indian massacres and headstrong drunks and fish that got away. As a monologue of thoughts and impressions, this book is lucky to have such a sympathetic reader, who makes the listener pleased to simply go with the flow.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristina | 2/2/2014

    " Not my typical book, but I did find Graves' experience on a solo (well, with his dog) canoe trip to be an interesting medley of Texas history, ecology, and self reflection. Growing up with property on the Guadalupe river, I translated his stories to some of my personal experiences. A must read for those interested in Comanche stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary | 1/30/2014

    " He rode the river one last time by canoe with his dog down the Brazos before the dams were built. He tells stories of his adventures and of the stories he learns as he travels down the Brazos River. An awesome book if you can find it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine Carminati | 1/29/2014

    " Beautiful journey. The book takes you along the Brazos as John canoes delivering tidbits of history and anecdote. A calming read that I very much enjoyed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick Caster | 1/27/2014

    " My favorite Texas book of non-fiction. Each paragraph is tooled and polished like fine leather. Larry McMurtry critisized Graves good naturedly when he said "He never publishes his failures" (Something you cannot say about McMurtry). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed Belding | 1/20/2014

    " For anyone living near the upper Brazos river and with any interest of the history of the area, this is a must read. John takes what be assumes will be his last canoe trip down the Brazos river before a series of dams were to be built. He spends a few weeks floating down the river with is companion - a feisty little dachshund, and chronicles memories and histories of nearly every bend in river as well as the communities that are part of the upper Brazos country including Palo Pinto, Parker and Bosque counties. Considered a classic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carl | 1/18/2014

    " It is about a river, but mostly in an indirect way. The river is more of an excuse to tell the rest of the stories and something to tie those stories together with. Just like the river the narrative flows from one story to the next and at times you forget that the current story is an interruption of some other story (that might well be a detour from yet another). Although the stories themselves are interesting it is the descriptions of the landscape and people that make the book good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie | 1/14/2014

    " I love Graves' writing style. Exceedingly human. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark Williams | 9/10/2013

    " This book is a Texas classic yet it did not resonate with me. I feel like it is less relevant as it ages. I know, I'm missing something. Sorry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Horne | 9/3/2013

    " A Texas classic. Meanders like the Mighty Brazos River. Though I have no desire to go camping, this is a good camping and Texas history book. OK, maybe I want to camping and canoeing just a bit after reading this. And it has a dachsund in it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Logan Lee | 8/29/2013

    " One canoe ride down the Brazos with John Graves can enrich you with more Texas history than any teacher coould ever dream of producing. I enjoyed the narrative, which increased my knowledge of early Texas and increased my vocabulary. Graves can flat out pen. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taylor Dykes | 5/10/2013

    " This was my favorite book I read in 2009. Beautiful prose and highly contemplative. There are many people I would recommend this to. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patsy Gaddy | 3/27/2013

    " John Graves and his pup take a canoe trip down the Brazos River as John reminises about the local and regional lore and how much times on the river are changing. The reader can visualize the scenery and history as they glide down the river. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tina. | 1/29/2013

    " I hate this book. And I'm supposed to teach it in my University Seminar class. To kids who hate to be there. And who hate to read anyway. I'm doomed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gunnar | 10/8/2012

    " John Graves is great - when he's writing about Texas. Dude is a major league ass otherwise. It just seeps from his writing. Luckily, he discovered this at some point in life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 9/29/2012

    " Nice introduction, in clear manly prose, to the history of the region of Texas where Graves made his river journey. A celebration, tinged with melancholy, of a changing landscape. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Spencer Hill | 6/24/2012

    " A must read for the solo traveler. The main character is the land around the Brazos River.Graves descriptions of the land , the people, and every thing is as vivid as kodachrome. For those who want history and travel around the Brazos in Texas one couldn't ask for a better travel guide. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/18/2012

    " The story of a river that is about to be damed up and changed forever. Tales of the people from along the river. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brent | 12/22/2011

    " Good, but not great like I'd hoped it would be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 9/26/2011

    " This is the type of book that I normally do not enjoy, but I chose to read it after reading dozens of glowing reviews. I was looking for a book about Texas, about Texans. Graves delivered. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie | 9/18/2011

    " A must-read for every Texan, or anyone who has lost a childhood memory. Memorable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 8/5/2011

    " I liked it when he sat next to the fire and smoked, and then later when it rained. Some of the rest of it got real repetitive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 3/6/2011

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Spencer | 3/6/2011

    " A must read for the solo traveler. The main character is the land around the Brazos River.Graves descriptions of the land , the people, and every thing is as vivid as kodachrome. For those who want history and travel around the Brazos in Texas one couldn't ask for a better travel guide. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick | 8/12/2010

    " My favorite Texas book of non-fiction. Each paragraph is tooled and polished like fine leather. Larry McMurtry critisized Graves good naturedly when he said "He never publishes his failures" (Something you cannot say about McMurtry). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 1/5/2010

    " It is a cliche that I like this book, being a texan, but it is a good book. What is not to like about a man, a dog and a canoe paddling down a river that will never be the same again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taylor | 12/30/2009

    " This was my favorite book I read in 2009. Beautiful prose and highly contemplative. There are many people I would recommend this to.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 5/5/2009

    " The story of a river that is about to be damed up and changed forever. Tales of the people from along the river. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Morris | 4/2/2009

    " One of the most uninteresting books I've ever tried to read. I was getting through it until he felt compelled to bring in a rape. Then I set it down. I will not finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary | 2/17/2009

    " He rode the river one last time by canoe with his dog down the Brazos before the dams were built. He tells stories of his adventures and of the stories he learns as he travels down the Brazos River. An awesome book if you can find it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brent | 12/16/2008

    " Good, but not great like I'd hoped it would be. "

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About the Narrator

Henry Strozier has appeared in numerous films, including Contact, You Don’t Know Jack, Thirteen Days, and Sex in the City. Also a voice-over artist, he has worked extensively in video games and audiobook narration.