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Far Appalachia: Following the New River North
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Far Appalachia: Following the New River North

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  278 ratings  ·  47 reviews
With his sharp eye and gentle wit, Noah Adams doesn't just tell stories, he lets them unfold quietly, powerfully, and eloquently. Now the beloved host of NPR's All Things Considered and bestselling author of Piano Lessons takes us on a river journey through the heart of Appalachia--a journey shared by pioneers and preachers, white-water daredevils, bluegrass musicians, and ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 26th 2002 by Delta (first published 2001)
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Great book describing the New River and the people around it. Growing up in North Carolina and spending a decent amount of time on the New River in West Virginia, I was able to relate to large portions of this book. There was a lot of overlap with things I love as well, bluegrass music, whitewater rafting, canoeing, Fayetteville WV, etc. I recommend it if you have any curosity about the Appalachia region.
A meandering travel story that captures the scenery and the history of this unique and underappreciated part of the country.
Spencer Hill
I enjoyed this book for the most part. Mr. Adams doesn't quite understand his Appalachian brethren from WV. He has a liberal bias to the extractive industries that made this area. At times he looks at the area like a person from Appalachia then becomes the judgmental urban Boswashingtonite.

Most people do not "get" this area of the country. It is not an homogeneous group of Scotch-Irish, but a true melting pot of America-(actually our Italian food is better than NYC--because we got the working pe
This book made me want to visit some of the places along the New River that Noah Adams writes about. I've read that the New River Gorge is "the Grand Canyon of the East." That idea alone is one to make a person visit. On my way to cities in the Northeast, I've driven past the exit on I-64 that will take you to the Canyon Rim visitor center, frequently wishing I had allowed myself extra time to explore. Rich in history and culture - some say being settled by American Indians before 8000 B.C., the ...more
David Ward
Far Appalachia: Following the New River North by Noah Adams (Delta 2001)(917.547). Noah Adams, NPR stalwart, has written a fine book about the South, and more specifically, about Appalachia. The New River has its source high in the North Carolina mountains, and its mouth is in West Virginia. Adams explores the New River from puddle to torrent; this is his home territory, and the connection is evident. My rating: 7/10, finished 2002.
I read this book as I prepare for a trip to Kentucky with a youth group I lead. Wanting to know more about Appalachian culture and history, I've delved into several books. This is a pleasant read, recounting the authors trip by canoe and bicycle along the New River.
His meditative tone didn't forestall a thrill at recognizing some of the places he writes about.
I loved this book. I learned a lot about the place I grew up.
charming read - learned a thing or two - enjoyed the trip upriver
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this journey down the New River. His stories have added to my appreciation of the often misunderstood people of West Virginia. He does show limits in his understanding of the culture yet that is rooted in the probable intention of writing a story the whole time he made the trip instead of afterwards. Reading this book after "Coal River" helped fill in some of the gaps. I have and will continue to recommend his book to others if the genuinely want to learn more about ...more
This was a good book but I'm not sure exactly why I would have picked it up unless it was for a book club. I expected the book to go into more depth about the places and was a little disappointed when it didn't. It was neat to read about the places that are so close and learn a bit about the history of Radford/Blacksburg. The last part at the New River Gorge was really interesting! I will probably never go white water rafting but going to the bridge day and watching others do it sounds almost as ...more
Not a travelogue but reminiscences about canoeing/rafting/Jeeping along the New River, starting in North Carolina > Virginia > West Virginia. I keep forgetting how far west Virginia extends and how mountainous the west end of VA is beyond Asheville, despite having driven through twice. What surprised me is how far -east- the New River turns.

Entertaining, but too choppy for 3 stars.
This is a good "in-between" book - something that you can pick up and put down easily without losing plot. It's the story(?) of the author's trip down the New River via kayak, bike and Jeep, stopping along the way to see the sights and meet people. There's some family history here, but mostly it's about the river and the people.
An enjoyable collection of vignettes about the New River (which travels north from North Carolina through Virginia and West Virginia) that intertwine travel narrative, memoir, history, and outdoor recreational sport that is well written and a delight. Especially good is his story of white water rafting the river. I highly recommend.
David Wasser
A very interesting tale of one man's travel, over multiple years, of the entire length of the New River as it winds its way northward from North Carolina to the Ohio River. It's descriptions about Appalachia and the people who live there are very vivid and eye-opening. The author is NPR correspondent, Noah Adams.
Picked this up to complement my driving trip through the near part of West Virginia. Read about half of the vignettes. More about river sports than I was expecting, but a few bits of culture, too. Would recommend for anyone who wants prose about rafting/kayaking or contemplative pieces about place.
Great read! I picked this up at the New River Gorge Visitor Center in West Virginia and read it last week at the beach. Adams did a great job at sucking you into his adventure through Appalachia and really made you fall in love with the culture.

The inspiration was so strong, I might go buy a kayak.
This book is about the New River valley, a truly lovely Appalachian waterway. My grandmother grew up in Galax, Virginia, so this book talks about her heritage. I live about an hour and a half away from the New River and have lived most of my life in the Appalachians so I really enjoyed this book.
A good travelog type book with a wonderful voice. I grew up in the NC mountains and went to school at App State (those crawdads that live only in the New River? I did a thesis on those ^_^), so I knew some of these places. Adams did a wonderful job talking about the river and it's people.
Noah Adams gives me a firsthand view of his West Virginia. He dispelled some opinions I held and let me enjoy the physicial beauties along the New River from my chair.The information about the movie Deliverance and the lives of coal miners really enhanced the benefits of this book.
Mark Lacy
An easy, fast, enjoyable read. But Adams didn't go into enough depth with any of the people or situations he described. I was left wanting to know a lot more about the people he ran into, and what made them (and him) tick.
I have rafted the New River, and have recently moved close to its headwaters. Consequently there were many things in the book to draw me in. But the book lacked a real sense of destination, and the characters, though well drawn, did not contribute to a cohesive whole.
For me, it was a slow start. I didn't really get in to it until the last fourth if the book when he was sharing his whitewater adventures. I have the Gauley on my list to do, so that kept me interested, but I wouldn't mark this as a must read for anyone.
I have to give this one at least 4 stars because he is a distant cousin on my mother's side. And anyway, I liked the book. Reading about Appalachia where my mother lived as a child is always interesting for me.
I usually do not like travel books, this one defied my early expectations. His description is both accurate and incomplete but appropriate so. He does not try to over reach like other authors writing about the region.
Kingston Bowen
Good story. It was fun to follow Noah on his adventure. I do agree with another reviewer wishing there was more depth to some of the story. But it was a quick and easy read which was also pleasant.
Doug McCoy
Good read about an area I love...the Appalachians. I would have liked to have seen more maps and pictures...maybe a little more detail. I would have also liked to see more mention of hiking/backpacking.
Linda Clendening
Solid stories about people and a wonderful journey thru place: the New River. I could feel the breezes and see the sun on the water. It felt like I was in the canoe with Noah Adams. Only drier.
Good insight into paddle travel in a fascinating part of the world. 'River right', 'river left', and a whole bunch of new but intuitive terms that Noah introduces to readers. Thanks.
Dudley Greene
Great book, chapter 2 is an interview with my dad. The interview was done the summer before dad got cancer and the book was published after he lost his battle with cancer.
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