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Grand Ambition

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  194 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Newlyweds Glen and Bessie Hyde plan to navigate the treacherous rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, but vanish one month later, in a novel that interweaves the story of their fateful journey with their families' efforts to find them.
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company
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One of the first things that struck me about this book was the massive changes that have taken place in our society since 1928. When it comes to adventuring we have instant communication, sophisticated transport, space age clothing and tools and things such as GPS and locator beacons for when things go awry. How different things were in raw and real things become when death is so close.

I appreciated the authors ability to describe time and relationships. I especially liked her descrip
In 1928, a young couple sets off on a wooden boat down the Green and Colorado River, in an effort to set a record - Bessie would be the first woman to run that stretch of river at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Esp for the times, Bessie had an action packed life in her short twenty odd years. She eloped w/ her high school sweetheart. She left him to enroll in art school in San Francisco. He sent her money for an "operation" (why would this be part of public record? Did Earl tell the press? Was i
Steven Howes
Not exactly the page-turner I expected it to be; but an interesting read nonetheless. This historical novel is based on the true story of Glen and Bessie Hyde, a newly-wed couple who attempted to traverse the Green and Colorado Rivers through the Grand Canyon during the fall and winter of 1928. Those who are familiar with the story know they disappeared and their bodies were never found although their homemade sweep scow was found intact along with their supplies. As typical with events not easi ...more
I loved this book! My book club read this although I didn't want to read it, I ended up being quite pleasantly surprised! We also read "Sunk Without A Sound" (a non-fiction 're-enactment' of the same trip. Great companions!
Excellent read! Borrowed from a friend, who hasn't even yet read it herself. I told her she needs too!

Based on a true story with a few known facts of two young newlywed's attempt to run the rapids of the Grand Canyon on their honeymoon in 1928. Bessie Hyde was to be the first woman to ever attempt the expedition.

The author does a wonderful job of adding and filling in so effortlessly with believable accounts to the rest of what wasn't written in Bessie's journal, and from her research of their
A story of fiction written about the actual historical true events surrounding Bessie and Glen Hyde's 1928 attempt at running the rapids of the Grand Canyon as their honeymoon trip. They set out to set records for the first women to make the run of the rapids and even at a record speed as well. The story is interwoven with the search for the two by Glen's father Reith Hyde, the search by a military airplane, searchers on foot and two in a boat running the river as well. It has a couple of pictur ...more
Until I read this book, I had never heard of Glen and Bessie Hyde. Now, I feel as though they were my very good friends whose mysterious departure from this life leaves me deeply saddened.

Although the book "Grand Ambition" is a work of fiction, it is built upon the actual adventure of these two young people who undertook an incredible journey - to travel the Colorado River in a home-made boat, i.e. a scow. They never finished the journey alive, although all their possessions were later discover
Bill Currie
Feb 06, 2012 Bill Currie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bill by: Joan Griffin
Surely no one can not complain of the story telling but how creepy to create intermit thoughts without any communication leading to these thoughts between two people about to find death. Initially I became so embroiled in the story, following each of the characters around through their life experiences which could be documented easily from third party records, however once on the river the writer begun telling us what each of the death destined couple was thinking, saying and doing. If th
This is a fictional account of a real couple's honeymoon adventure down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in the late 1920s. Their names were Glen & Bessie Hyde. I Googled their names and discovered that the author, Lisa Michaels, was quite accurate in her story with the facts that are out there. It would be very easy to give away too much information here and spoil the book for other readers, so I won't. I'll just say that I couldn't put the book down...I really wanted to know wha ...more
I liked the interweaving of stories, of Bessie and Glen's journey, of Bessie's past, and Reith's attempt to find them. I like that Michaels has taken the bare bones of history and made a novel out of them. But her style is too languid, too literary, maybe, for my liking. The descriptions are lovely, but they feel more like pastel paintings on a wall rather than the visceral Colorado River. The characters likewise seem like people in a book, not people whose blood pounds and whose breath catches ...more
I read this book some time ago, but it has stuck with me for several years. This is a fictionalized account of the real life couple, Glen and Bessie Hyde, who on their honeymoon in 1928, began a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. I don't want to give the story away, but Bessie was the first woman to attempt this trip. I found this book mesmerizing, with the rich detail about the roaring rapids, the twists and turns of the river, the canyon walls, and the nightly campfir ...more
I really enjoyed this book. The author took a real-life unsolved mystery and ran with it. The descriptions of the canyon and shooting the rapids were just great. I also liked the two photos included. The one at the beginning, as they were just about to launch their scow showed them as somewhat cocky, adventurous. The last photo, taken by the last person to see them alive, is quite telling, especially the look on Bessie's face.
Jun 06, 2012 Laurenemque rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charles M.
Based on the real life adventure of Gus and Bessie Hyde, who sought to become the frirst couple to travel down the Coloardo River through the Grand Canyon during 1928. The Hyde's boat was recovered near the end of the river, but the couple's whereabouts were never found. fast paced and edge of your seat story; makes for great reading!
Melissa Jill
Great mysterious adventure story about a couple who rafted the Grand Canyon in the 20s for their honeymoon in an attempt to set a record. I enjoyed how the book went back and forth between the couples' viewpoint and Glen's father's as he searched for them. Well written and engaging. I only wish we knew what happened!
Loved this book -- found myself thinking about it during the day & looked forward to getting back to it at night. I will be rafting the Grand Canyon this summer, and found myself imagining the journey though the Hydes eyes. Will read it again after my trip!
Ann Warner
A story that stuck with me long after I finished it, about newlyweds who go down the Grand Canyon and disappear. That part is based on fact. Michaels re-imagines that story and presents it as compelling fiction. Wonderful writing.
A very well-written account of a harrowing trip through the Grand Canyon in the 1920's. The author constructs a fluid and richly detailed narrative of the life of two young people seeking to find themselves.
This book was a well -done fictionalized account of the ill-fated river trip, in the same vein as The Paris Wife: so much possibility explored and it seemed less of an imagined tale than it was.
This is a novel half based on truth, half based on imagining what could have happened to a young couple on their honeymoon down the Colorado River. My husband and I both read it on OUR honeymoon.
Aes Sedai
If you like historical fiction, this is an inspirational story about a couple who spend their honeymoon river-rafting down the Colorado River - one of the first people to ever attempt it!
Kami Tilby
Makes you want to raft down the Colorado River, and Not. Alternate title could be Pride and Foolishness but still fascinating to read.
The story of a young couple who spend their honeymoon rafting down the river in the Grand Canyon early in the Twentiety Century.
A novel based on a true event in the early 1900's when a honeymooning couple take a trip down the Green and Colorado rivers.
What a ride! I enjoyed this book about two newlyweds in the 30's embarking on a crazy trip down the Colorado river.
Julia Guice
It was a good story but I got so bored reading it. It was based on a true story and that is the reason I tried it.
A haunting story of a real-life couple's trip boating through the Grand Canyon on their honeymoon in 1928.
Fascinating story of a couple who traveled the Grand Canyon on their honeymoon via hand-made boat.
Ktmae Petross
great book. especially for anyone that has ever rafted.
Adventure tale, love story, and real-life tragedy.
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