978-0-385-32013-9 / 0385320132

Far Appalachia: Following the New River North

by Adams, Noah




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About the book:

Noah Adams, the amiable host of NPR's All Things Considered, is no stranger to the world beyond the Beltway; a native of Kentucky, he's logged plenty of time in wild country, and the travels he recounts in his latest book take him through some of the most rugged in the eastern United States.

Adams travels along the New River, which rises in the mountains of North Carolina, flows generally north into Virginia and West Virginia, and eventually merges with the Ohio and Mississippi. Along the way--traveling by car, bicycle, and canoe--he explains the workings of rapids, his ancestral connection to Appalachia as well as its the history, and even the origins of the term hillbilly. As he wanders, Adams points out local oddities (such as a school bus that incongruously rests on a huge boulder in the middle of a stretch of the New River) and takes in bluegrass festivals, family picnics and the occasional family feud, and little towns and large vistas, by all appearances having a grand time along the way.

"This is just a book about a river. There was no quest involved, only a wish to understand more about this part of the country and my family's past." So writes Adams, with characteristic understatement. It may lack grand purpose, but his book is a pleasure for anyone who knows the country of which he writes, and anyone who enjoys a backroad adventure. --Gregory McNamee

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