- Running the Amazon © 1989
- Random House: Vintage Books
- 279 pages
This is more than a paddling story—it’s travel/adventure writing at its finest. The book chronicles the first team to paddle the entire length of the Amazon River, from its sickness-inducing heights in the mountains of Peru to the Atlantic Ocean.
There are a number of stories intertwined between the covers [I have to add: my cover was glued on upside-down which led my wife to wonder on occasion whether I was just pretending to read!]:
- The first-to-do-it story: the fact that no one had done this before brings an element of excitement to the text.
- The survival story: the technical paddling in the mountains will raise the pulse of anyone who has shot rapids before.
- The team-work (or lack thereof) story: Kane nails the tension and shifting allegiances between the team members. This puts a human face on the story which transcends paddling literature.
- The morphing nature of the river story: following this river from extreme remoteness to sprawling world-class city is fascinating. It was gripping to hear how different people received the team throughout the trip and how the various people were able to exist on the shifting river.
- The author’s story: Kane went from outsider-reporter to full-fledged paddler during the six months of this trip. That was quite a metamorphosis!
You don’t need to be a paddler to read this—paddling is just one aspect of this multi-faceted work of art.