Cover image for The lost river : a memoir of life, death, and transformation on wild water
The lost river : a memoir of life, death, and transformation on wild water
Bangs, Richard, 1950-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Sierra Club Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 266 pages 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1220 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 11 27 Quiz: 20298 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV780 .B36 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A memorir of the author's rafting adventures.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

With straightforward storytelling, Bangs recounts a nearly 30-year obsession with rafting some of the swiftest, most dangerous waters on earth. Bangs (Rivergods), editor-at-large of, Microsoft's online travel service, tells his tale with the ease of a worldly relative who swoops in for Thanksgiving dinner and regales the table with stories that keep everyone's attention. Readers will especially enjoy the descriptions of Africa in which Bangs makes both the water and its wildlife bristle with peril. Even a pair of marabou storks acquire a sinister aspectÄ "with their bald red heads, dandy gray feathers edged in white, fleshy pink necks, rattling bills, and wings folded into an oval, they looked like undertakers in morningcoats." And the lugubrious undertones are not mere exaggeration: in the 1970s, two of Bangs's rafting partners, one his closest friend, drowned in the course of their adventures. The title refers to Ethiopia's Tekeze River, which Bangs and his friend had intended to run together and to which Bangs ultimately returns. Though Bangs occasionally falls prey to macho clich‚s ("I felt I had to prove to myself that I had the right stuff") and hackneyed constructions ("So much water, so little time"), readers will meet such instances like rocks in midstream: distressing for a moment, but easily passed, and hardly enough to ruin an otherwise enjoyable trip. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

YA-A 23-year-old dream came to fruition when Bangs rafted the Tekeze River in Ethiopia. His life had always centered around rafting on rivers, a pleasure that began when he and a friend first canoed on the Potomac River during high school days. Five seasons guiding on the Colorado River, plus exploratory trips down the Omo and Baro Rivers in Ethiopia, further whetted his love of rafting. But his friend Lew Greenwald's death while on the Blue Nile almost destroyed his love of the sport. Luckily, he returned to his lifeblood and, more than 20 years after first rafting in Ethiopia, returned to tackle the Tekeze River, a river that he wanted to ride with Lew. In effect, this book is a testament to his friend. Along with the many varied rafting adventures described, readers are introduced to the culture of the sport, with its often shoestring budget runs, ability to improvise when caught far from transportation or doctors, reverence for the land and its people, and river guides who live for adventure. Luscious descriptions of wildlife fill the pages, from "sodden cormorants" to "rainbows of birds." Reading of the gorges, plateaus, and crocodile and hippo-infested waters through which these voyagers traveled transports readers to places unlikely to be visited. The author's masterful choice of words and smooth writing style result in exceedingly pleasurable reading that will appeal to novice or experienced rafters.-Pam Spencer, Young Adult Literature Specialist, Virginia Beach, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
1 Return to Edenp. 3
2 White Magicp. 7
3 Time Banditsp. 19
4 The Roof of Africap. 31
5 The God Sobekp. 39
6 The River Awashp. 51
7 Capsizep. 61
8 The River Omop. 71
9 Capital Punishmentsp. 83
10 Lost on the Barop. 89
11 Hippo Alleyp. 97
12 The Blue Nilep. 105
13 The Empire Strikes Backp. 113
14 A Death too Soonp. 123
15 Deliverancep. 127
16 Water Worldp. 135
17 The Man with Missing Fingersp. 145
18 The Last Boy Scoutsp. 153
19 Puzzle in a Mazep. 165
20 Virtual Adventurep. 171
21 Prime Timep. 181
22 Into Thick Airp. 189
23 The Tekeze Foundp. 197
24 Jungle Feverp. 205
25 Riders of the Stormp. 211
26 Thirst for Truthp. 223
27 The Temple of the Arkp. 233
28 The Hot Zonep. 241
29 Lords of the Fliesp. 249
30 The Infinite Voyagep. 257
Epiloguep. 263