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Download River Horse: A Voyage Across America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample River Horse: A Voyage Across America Audiobook, 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, William Heat-Moon Narrator: Jay O. Sanders Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 1999 ISBN: 9780743519366
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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. Download and start listening now!

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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.” 

    Booklist

  • “Radiant with intelligence and masterful storytelling.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pattie | 2/13/2014

    " Across the US by small boat. A long and dogged trip, but worth the ride. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanna | 2/8/2014

    " I always enjoy a good travelogue type of book. This was a long book and took me a while to read. I liked his other book, Blue Highways a little bit better, but this was enjoyable. The only issue I had was that it took Waaaaaaaay too long to get through the Upper Missouri! It's a long river - yes, but I would've liked more detail about the Columbia and Snake, which were right before he entereded into the Pacific. The build up would have been better. Mr. Least Heat Moon is a good writer, though, and I look to his works as some of my favorites in the travel world! :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jon Stout | 1/30/2014

    " Inspired by reading Blue Highways, I came to love the point of view of this native American author. He figures out a way to travel by water across the continental United States. His encounters with people along the canals, lakes and rivers recall the America of a century ago, when automobile and air travel did not prevail. He also teaches by example a warm and respectful attitude toward native Americans and towards all kinds of people. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate Sometomato | 1/20/2014

    " I did not really finish this book, although I was enjoying it. I have enjoyed the author's other books but was finding this one dragged a bit. It may have been that I need to return and read it another time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gillian | 1/16/2014

    " Long-winded. Pretentious author. However, the subject was interesting and I got through most of it. The American landscape and the historical nature of the journey kept me going. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennie | 1/6/2014

    " This book was not very engaging. I couldn't even make myself finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Evelyn | 12/24/2013

    " Author travels by water across the U.S. from the Atlantic to the Pacific via Hudson, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Snake and Columbia Rivers. Included are tidbits of information about the people he meets along the way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jameson | 11/10/2013

    " i love the concept -- what! i'm not being sarcastic! i really dig this idea. it's just tough to make an enthralling narrative out of it, especially when you're as weird as this guy (kidding...kinda) and refuse to use quotes or names "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi | 7/4/2013

    " A worthwhile, but SLOW read. It was a bit anti-climactic for me as I wanted to hear more about the Snake and Columbia Rivers, where I have also traveled. You get the sense that the author also felt this way, once he reached the 'downhill' portion of his voyage. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darrel Martin | 2/2/2013

    " Modern day adventurer that dreamed and then set in motion an attempt to travel from the Atlantic Ocean from New York Harbor to the Pacific Ocean totally by river. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary Sprong | 8/19/2012

    " Another book worth reading. It touches my soul as a wanderer. Heading out west and will sort of follow his westerly trip but on my Harley. Look forward to crossing his rivers and think about his adventure while I hopefully enjoy mine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allison | 2/15/2012

    " Dams suck---joined American Rivers soon after reading this! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keith Clasen | 6/17/2011

    " Worth reading. A unique story about America. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa | 5/27/2011

    " An interesting story, but not very well written. Worth reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hinrich | 7/14/2010

    " Journey across the USA - by boat. A look at this country from a unique perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod | 6/6/2010

    " He captures that which is all around us. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keith | 3/10/2010

    " Worth reading. A unique story about America. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gillian | 1/14/2010

    " Long-winded. Pretentious author. However, the subject was interesting and I got through most of it. The American landscape and the historical nature of the journey kept me going. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty | 9/20/2009

    " A cross-country journey by water with many historical, geographical, and philosophical tidbits tucked in among the river adventures. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bhall | 8/22/2009

    " This is a pretty fun book. About taking his boat from the atlantic to the pacific as much as he could. he has a joy in this trip that is infectuous and a HELL of a vocabulary that is great to learn from. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennie | 7/22/2009

    " This book was not very engaging. I couldn't even make myself finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 5/25/2009

    " Good book - his "Blue Highways" is better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa | 5/7/2009

    " An interesting story, but not very well written. Worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 11/7/2008

    " Not as good as Blue Highways but interesting. "

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About the Author
Author William Least Heat-MoonWilliam Least Heat-Moon is the author of the bestselling classics Roads to Quoz, Blue Highways, River Horse, and PrairyEarth. He lives in Columbia, Missouri.
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.