Extended Audio Sample

River Horse: A Voyage Across America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample River Horse: A Voyage Across America, by William Least Heat-Moon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (707 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Least Heat-Moon Narrator: Jay O. Sanders Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In this abridgement of River Horse, the pre-eminent chronicler of American back roads -- who has given us the classics Blue Highways and Prairyerth -- recounts his singular voyage through American waters from sea to sea. Along the route, he offers a lyrical and ceaselessly fascinating shipboard perspective on the country and its rivers, lakes, canals, and landscapes. Brimming with history, drama, and wisdom, River Horse belongs in the pantheon of American travel literature.

In his most ambitious journey ever, Heat-Moon sets off aboard a small boat he named Nikawa ("river horse" in Osage) from the Atlantic at New York Harbor in hopes of entering the Pacific near Astoria, Oregon. He and his companion, Pilotis, struggle to cover some five thousand watery miles -- more than any other cross-country river traveler has ever managed -- often following in the wakes of our most famous explores, from Henry Hudson to Lewis and Clark.

En route, the voyagers confront massive floods, submerged rocks, dangerous weather, and their own doubts about whether they can complete the trip. But the hard days yield up incomparable pleasures: strangers generous with help and eccentric tales, landscapes unchanged since Sacagawea saw them, riverscapes flowing with a lively past, and the growing belief that efforts to protect our lands and waters are beginning to pay off. And, throughout its course, the expedition enjoys coincidences so breathtaking as to suggest the intervention of a divine and witty Providence.

Teeming with humanity and high adventure, Heat-Moon's account is an unsentimental and original arteriogram of our nation at the edge of the Millennium.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Heat-Moon’s prose is clear, straight-forward and lively and his vision unclouded.” 

    Chicago Sun-Times 

  • “Takes us on a lifetime voyage full of imagery, insight and appreciation.” 

    Clevland Plain Dealer 

  • “A triumphant book all the way to the salty Pacific.” 

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Largely engaging.

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This evocative and masterly narrative is a reminder of the beauty and grandeur of our country.” 

    Library Journal

  • “An excellent book.” 


  • “Radiant with intelligence and masterful storytelling.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Reviews

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Christopher | 2/15/2014

    " This was the least favorite read of Heat-Moons. It's not to say it's bad, just not as consuming as his other reads, in my humble opinion. Fascinating landscape and yet another terrific tale of a man's adventure across the US. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Ken | 2/15/2014

    " Good story, but long read. You need a dictionary beside you as you read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Rod Zemke | 2/15/2014

    " He captures that which is all around us. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Nathan Pearson | 2/13/2014

    " Haven't navigated all the way through yet. So far, Least Heat Moon's 'deep map' approach to digging headlong into the (recent) history of particular corners of north America is enlightening and surprisingly fast-paced (even if it's not the methodological novelty it's cracked up to be). His choice to refer to his touring companion as 'Pilotis', ostensibly so as to honor his friend's humble wish for anonymity, becomes grating about two pages in; and there's a lot of smug 'Year in Provence'-style celebration of frosty brews with quirky locals after a hard day of yachting, &c. But overall, the writing -- at heart, it's a classic American river odyssey -- flows along entertainingly, and you're bound to learn some neat trivia along the way. "

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About the Author
Author William Least Heat-Moon

William Least Heat-Moon is the pen name of William Trogdon, who was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He holds a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism and a doctorate in English from the University of Missouri. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Blue Highways. His other works include Prairyerth, Columbus in the Americas, Roads to Quoz, and River-Horse, an account of his travels along America’s interior waterways.

About the Narrator

Jay O. Sanders began his acting career off-Broadway in Shakespearean roles then went on to appear in numerous films and television series, including Revolutionary Road, The Day after Tomorrow, and Kiss the Girls, based on the novel by James Patterson. He has narrated more than fifty audio books over the years, including the bestselling My Losing Season by Pat Conroy and Dean Koontz’s Dragon Tears and Mr. Murder.