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* More than a man-against-nature adventure-the author floats us along the border of political furor, cultural limbo, and dangerous human encounters
*Touches on environmental issues, adrenalin-spiked action, and the author's ambivalence with his own cultural identity
* A first work from a new voice that is parts gritty, elegant, and
The Rio Grande is a national border, a water source, a dangerous rapid with house-sized boulders, a nature refuge, a garbage dump, and a playground, depending on where you are on its 1885-mile course.
That's why journalist Keith Bowden decided to become the first person to travel the entire length of the Rio as it forms the border between America and Mexico. This is his fascinating account of the journey by bike, canoe, and raft along one of North America's most overlooked resources. From illegal immigrants and drug runners trying to make it into America to the border patrol working to stop them; from human coyotes — smugglers who help people navigate their way into the United States — to encounters with real coyotes, mountain lions, and other flora and fauna, Bowden reveals a side of America that few of us ever see. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is, in many ways, a country unto itself, where inhabitants share more in common with fellow riverside dwellers than they do with the rest of their countrymen. With this isolated and colorful micro-world as his backdrop, Bowden not only explores his surroundings, but also tests his inner mettle along some of the most dangerous and remote riparian wilderness in North America.