Canoeists: Here's a very satisfying literary expedition for the winter.
I was fortunate to receive a review copy of a highly anticipated book set for release in November 2016. Canoes: A Natural History in North America by Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims is a richly illustrated hardcover containing a whopping 416 pages of content to satisfy the interest of canoe lovers everywhere.
The style of the book takes one on a formal history lesson of the canoe in the Americas. Beginning with the story of various dugout forms, the book continues with the evolution of the birchbark and the subsequent transition to all wood canoes of the late 1800s. The natural progression to wood canvas canoes sets the stage for the era of aluminum craft and today's modern marvels engineered with industrial chemical synthetics. At each stage, one begins to realize that the basic form of the canoe has remained timeless but generational "improvements" in materials have been the defining feature of the craft.
Hardcore canoeists often view the world in paddling metaphors. Reading through each chapter felt like an adventurous backcountry journey, sometime through familiar territory, but with pleasant surprises along the way. The over 300 illustrative plates (some never before published) offered plenty of visual diversions, not unlike the excitement of spotting elusive wildlife on a trip. Historical maps, classic artworks and rare photographs had this reader frequently pausing to take in the visual feast.