Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Ten Rivers: Adventure Stories from the Arctic"

For the time being, I have decided to keep the Paddler's Book Club blog with the blessing of its creator, Rick I. However, it is going to be more of a book review format rather than an "Oprah"-like read and discuss book club format. I still invite your comments, but each blog post will be devoted to a single book.

I just recently finished reading the book, "Ten Rivers: Adventure Stories from the Arctic" by Ed Struzik. While not easily found on sites like www.Amazon.com, this book can also be found published under the title, "Ten Rivers Run Through It: Adventure Stories from the Arctic." It is published by CanWest Books Inc. copyright 2005.

I stumbled across this book as I was doing research on paddling the Thomsen River on Banks Island in the Northwest Territories of Canada. There is a chapter in the book on the Thomsen River which is mainly why I bought the book. Other chapters cover trips that the author has done on the Nahanni, Mackenzie, Snowdrift, Nanook, Firth, Brown, Cunningham, Taggart, and Back Rivers. Most of the trips were done using canoes, although the chapters on the Brown Cunningham, and Taggart Rivers are an exception.

The book is a very readable 228 pages, full of information about the history and wildlife of these Arctic rivers. Unlike many adventure travel narratives, Struzik does not get bogged down by giving a moment by moment account of every stroke he takes on the river. He accents the interesting highlights of each trip (both positive and negative), and gives expanded background information about the particular animals or native inhabitants of the region through which he is traveling. As a "map addict", I really appreciated the maps that are included at the beginning of each chapter which help to locate the river on the map of Canada as well as identifying the locations on the river which are mentioned in the text.

You can find many interesting and informative articles written by Ed Struzik, who is a science journalist, by doing an internet search of his name. He has been traveling in the Arctic for more than 30 years and has been a witness to many of the changes that have taken place as a result of climate change and human development. I plan to read his most recent book, "The Big Thaw", very soon.