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The Last River: John Wesley Powell and the Colorado River Exploring Expedition (Great Explorers) [Hardcover]

By Stuart Waldman & Gregory Manchess (Illustrator)
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Item description for The Last River: John Wesley Powell and the Colorado River Exploring Expedition (Great Explorers) by Stuart Waldman & Gregory Manchess...

Describes the expedition of professor John Wesley Powell in 1869 to explore the Colorado River from Green River City, Wyoming, to the Grand Canyon which included three months of riding rapids, back-breaking labor, dramatically beautiful canyons, and amazing rescues. By the author of We Asked for Nothing: The Remarkable Journey of Cabeza de Vaca.

Publishers Description

The one-armed professor who conquered the mighty Colorado.

No European had ever taken boats down the Colorado river and come out alive. In May 1869, ten men boarded four rowboats in Green River City, Wyoming.

Three months and 1,000 miles later, just two battered boats carrying six exhausted and starving men emerged from the depths of the Grand Canyon. The Last River tells their remarkable story.

The man who challenged the Colorado was different from other explorers. Major John Wesley Powell was a small, bookish, one-armed geology professor from a midwestern farm. Despite his size and the constant pain from the Civil War wound that had cost him his arm, Powell's twin passions -- adventure and scientific exploration -- drew him to the Colorado River.

For three months he and nine crew members made their home on the river. They thrilled to riding the rapids and endured the back-breaking labor of transporting boats and cargo past rapids too dangerous to run. They discovered canyons of unsurpassed beauty and gave them names like Music Temple and Canyon of Lodore. They saved each other from drowning, and suffered together as their food supply dwindled to nearly nothing.

Excerpts from journals of crew members personalize the gripping text. Original paintings and a fold-out map allows the reader to simultaneously follow the expedition's route and its adventures.

The Last River is an inspiring and riveting true adventure written with drama and compassion that brings history to life.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   48
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 10.25" Height: 10.25"
Weight:   1.3 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2005
Publisher   Mikaya Press
ISBN  1931414092  
ISBN13  9781931414098  

Availability  0 units.

More About Stuart Waldman & Gregory Manchess

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Stuart Waldman is an editor of children's books.

Tom McNeely's watercolors are both unflinching and stunningly gorgeous.

Stuart Waldman was born in 1941.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12 > General
2Books > Subjects > Children > History & Historical Fiction > Exploration & Discovery
3Books > Subjects > Children > History & Historical Fiction > United States > 1800s
4Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Biographies > General
5Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Biographies > Historical

Reviews - What do customers think about The Last River: John Wesley Powell and the Colorado River Exploring Expedition (Great Explorers)?

Highly recommended  Jan 18, 2008
I got this book for my first grade son, who is intrigued by stories of early settlers. We highly recommend this book! Over several evenings, I read this book to my boys (age 6 and 4). The story was very engrossing --there was so much that my boys wanted to discuss each time we stopped reading. They enjoyed thinking about what decisions they would have made on such an expedition. The story is written very well. The pictures are fabulous.
Exploring the "last river" of the American west: the 1869 Colorado River expedition  May 2, 2006
You may have heard of Lake Powell, the man-made reservoir on the Colorado River found on the border between Arizona and Utah, that was created by the flooding of Glen Canyon. The reservoir is named for John Wesley Powell, a one-armed veteran of the Civil War who explored the river on a pair of boats in 1869, and is considered one of the most scenic lakes in the United States. "The Last River: John Wesley Powerll & the Colorado River Exploring Expedition" by Stuart Waldman, illustrated by Gregory Manchess, tells the story of an unlikely bunch of explorers. The ten men that boarded four row boats in Green River City, Wyoming in May 1869 included a one-armed geology professor, an emotional disturbed Civil War veteran, an Englishman whose knowledge of the west came from dime store novels, and a group of free-spirited westerners who did not take kindly to orders. Their mission was to explore the Colorado River, the last unexplored river in America, which flowed through hundreds of miles of canyons. Three months and a thousand miles later, only two of the boats and six of the men would emerge from the Grand Canyon.

After covering the geological origins of the Colorado River, Waldman tells how Powell, who lost his arm in the Civil War, became a professor of geology interested in the Rocky Mountains, and how the expedition was organized. The expedition itself involves running rapids and "lining" boats along the more dangerous ones, losing boats and men along the way. In addition to the paintings by Manchess there are black & white photographs of what these men saw, such as Flaming Gorge and Desolation Canyon, taken by John K. Hillers who traveled on Powell's later surveys of the Colorado River and its canyons. Often in the margins you will find sidebars containing quotes from the journals and letters of expedition members. The result is a solid introduction to the history of the expedition that will give young readers a sense of how difficult it was to explore the Colorado River. The main text ends by talking about the series of scientific expeditions Powell organized over the next decade that completed the first geological study of the Grand Canyon in 1880, so that by 1882 the map of the United States no longer had any blank spaces.

The Lewis & Clark Expedition is the greatest story of exploration and discovery in the history of the United States, and while the effort and consequences were decidedly smaller in scale, the Colorado River Exploration is in that same tradition. Waldman focuses on the story of the expedition, thereby emphasizing the journey itself rather than its results. One of the nice touches of this book is that the title page opens up to display a map of the area that traces the route of the expedition so that students can read about Powell's travels and follow them on the map at the same time. The back of the book has a section that tells what happened to the ten members of the expedition after it was over, and a list of sources, including Powell's own "The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons." Consequently, young readers who are inspired by this book to find out more about the expedition and its leader will be pointed in the right direction.

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