In 1869 Powell a Civil War hero
who lost his arm at the battle of Shiloh set off into the unknown. He would be the first white man to run the
Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
It must have been a fearsome prospect.
Back in 1869 the river ran wild and free, unfettered by damns that
drained its ferocious power. The rapids
deep below the canyon walls would have roared, the sound carrying back to the
expedition as a challenge. Powell’s goal
was to explore the Canyon and map this last uncharted bit of the west. It is an amazing journey.
The legendary one-armed pioneer John Wesley Powell was a born explorer. But when he led the first expedition down the Colorado River and into the Grand Canyon, he and his men had no maps, no modern equipment . . . and no idea what awaited them.
This is Powell’s account of what they found: fierce rapids and hostile natives, scarce food, and sheer, unclimbable cliffs that left them no choice but to persevere or perish. What began as a scientific survey soon became a harrowing quest for sustenance and survival. Shaped from Powell’s original field notes and journals and featuring a new introduction by Anthony Brandt that puts the expedition in proper context as one of the great sagas of American exploration, this book is an adventure classic for the ages.
National Geographic Adventure Classics is a series that celebrates the “100 greatest adventure books of all time,” as compiled by a panel of experts for National Geographic Adventure. These titles have been carefully selected for their adrenaline quotient and their status as classics of the adventure genre.
About the Author
John Wesley Powell completed his famous expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869. But his life as one of America's great men of science was only just beginning. As an Indian commissioner, he became a student of the Paiute and Ute tribes, an interest that led in 1879 to the birth of the Smithsonian's Bureau of Ethnology, where he was director for 23 years. That same year he would be instrumental in the founding of the US Geological Survey, an agency which he would head just two years later. At 47 he was perhaps the most powerful and influential scientist in America. His ideas for harnessing water in the West inspired the birth of the Bureau of Reclamation and, in 1888, he joined 32 scientists and prominent Washingtonians to establish the National Geographic Society. After his death in 1902 at the age of 68, he continued to influence government science: He donated his brain to research. It's preserved today at the Smithsonian Institution.