The Emerald Mile

The Emerald Mile

The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon

Book - 2013 | First Scribner hardcover edition.
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The epic story of the fastest boat ride in history, on a hand-built dory named the "Emerald Mile," through the heart of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado river.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2013.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781439159859
Branch Call Number: 979.132052 FEDAR
Characteristics: 415 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map ; 24 cm


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Aug 31, 2016

A well written and 'page turning' story. One of my favorite books of 2013.

Apr 24, 2015

Excellent book! My favorite book of 2014. Provides historical info on dam building in the US, and the circumstances leading up to the climactic ride down the river.


Oct 17, 2014

This true story tells what happens when three vectors collided. First was a power dam on the Colorado River that should never have been built and caused permanent changes to the environment above and below the facility (the story is also told of two more dams that were supposed to have been built but were derailed due to the nascent environmental movement of the 1960s). Second, engineering and budget cutbacks during the construction of the dam which led to a minor but still huge design flaw that led to the dam almost collapsing on itself during the record spring melt of 1983, and Lake Powell, the reservoir that had taken 20 years to fill up, nearly spilling over the rim of the dam, and in any case causing huge damage to the diversion channels. Third, how the decision to release the outflow to near maximum flow to save the dam led a scrappy team who ran a river excursion company to decide to take advantage of the crisis and attempt one of the craziest stunts ever pulled - going down the 289 miles of the Colorado between the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead, in a non-motorized dorry, in the fastest time ever, despite a travel ban imposed by the US Parks Service after other companies' boats were torn to shreds by the extremely wild currents (which were notoriously difficult to navigate even at the tamest of times). There's necessarily a lot of science in hydraulics involved here to explain how things came to its course, but the author breaks down each step where it is relevant into layperson's terms; and generally writes an amazing adventure story that celebrates the human spirit while also asking what the price of progress is.

Sep 19, 2014

Fantastic! Fascinating read!
One of the best books I have read in years!
It tells several intertwined true stories about the Colorado River, and specifically the Grand Canyon. Thoroughly researched and artfully written.
One can only hope that Kevin Fedarko will find other subjects that interest him in a similar way.

ChristchurchLib Feb 09, 2014

"An award-winning Outside magazine writer documents the 1983 Colorado River flood that threatened the region with a catastrophic dam failure and prompted oarsman Kenton Grua's near-suicidal effort to navigate the turbulent waters of the Emerald Mile on a small wooden dory to achieve a world speed record." Armchair Travel February 2014 newsletter

Dec 18, 2013

Fedarko gave a very interesting presentation of his book at this year's Texas Book Festival. Part of the book reads like a mini-biography of the 3 men who made the 277 mile speed run in the wooden dory in June 1983. These & other colorful, eccentric river guides are depicted in a highly entertaining style. The Colorado river was running at 90,000 cfs that month, which gave the dory a big boost and almost caused a failure of the Glen Canyon dam. I also enjoyed the wonderful pictures & the epilogue, which tells what happened to the characters in the 30 years since '83, when the speed record was set. Highly recommended, especially to those who've seen the Grand Canyon &/or ridden on the river.

Sep 09, 2013

I heard the author speak about this book at the National Archives. If the book is half as good as his talk, it will fantastic!

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