Passage to Juneau

Passage to Juneau

A Sea and Its Meanings

Book - 1999
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"Raban is searching and compassionate. . . . And he is at all times eloquent." -- Richard Ford Following the overland triumph ofBad Land--whose prizes included the National Book Critics Circle Award--Jonathan Raban goes to sea. The Inside Passage from Puget Sound to Alaska is winding, turbulent, and deep--an ancient, thousand-mile-long sea route, rich in dangerous whirlpools, eddies, rips, and races. Here flourished the canoe culture of the Northwest Indians, with their fantastic painted masks and complex iconography and their stories of malign submarine gods and monsters. The unhappy British ship Discovery, captained by George Vancouver, came through these open reaches and narrow chasms in 1792. The early explorers were quickly followed by fur traders, settlers, missionaries, anthropologists, fishermen, and tourists, each with their own designs on this intricate and haunted sea. When Jonathan Raban set out alone in his own boat to sail from his Seattle home to the Alaskan Panhandle, he wanted to decode the many riddles and meanings of the sea: in Indian art and mythology, in the journals of Vancouver and his officers and midshipmen, in poetry and painting, in the physics of waves and turbulence. His voyage began as an intellectual adventure, but he soon found himself in deeper, more ominously personal waters than he had planned. In this seaborne epic, Raban brings the past spectacularly alive and renders the present in a prose of sustained brilliance and humor. Exhilarating, panoramic, full of ideas, natural history, and mordant social observation, his journey into the wild heart of North America turns into a profound exploration of the wilderness of the human heart.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, 1999.
ISBN: 9780679442622
0679442626
Branch Call Number: 917.982/RABA
Characteristics: 435p. 24cm.

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r
RyeNaught
Feb 22, 2015

I am a romantic at heart... anyone looking for more than just a travelogue will enjoy this for its history of exploration on BC's West coast, its peoples - both indigenous and a cast of interesting latter-day new comers. Another top shelf book for my boat 'Little Castaway'

gayleevanston May 13, 2014

Detailed description of Seattle harbor and commercial fisherman's life. Thoughtful musings about recorded history and relationship to the Inner Passage along the British Columbia coast to Alaska. A sailor would LOVE this book since it is written by a sailor as he sails this seaway.

WVMLStaffPicks May 31, 2013

Raban sets out alone from his home in Seattle to cruise the Inside Passage from Puget Sound to the Alaskan Panhandle. Determined to better understand the history of the area, he finds himself learning as much about himself as he does about the aboriginal inhabitants, the early explorers or the wild pacific weather. A wonderful read by a prize-winning author who explores this world with humour, compassion and a true sense of adventure.

ser_library Aug 20, 2011

i read the sections on Juneau and on Ketchikan which i had visited... his experiences were more negative than mine, perhaps because it was at the end of his trip

a
artina
Feb 25, 2010

Jonathan Raban has a very descriptive style of writing such that it is easy to visualize the areas that he is sailing through.
He includes, at the appropriate places that he is passing through, the history of the first European explorers to see the area with sections of the ships logs, and the crews of those ships.
My one disappointment is that there are no examples of the water colour sketches members of the crews (there were two ships) made during the exploration.

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a
artina
Feb 28, 2010

artina thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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