Disappointment River by Brian Castner

Disappointment River

In 1789, Alexander Mackenzie travelled the 1,125 miles of the immense river in Canada that now bears his name, in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, only to confront impassable pack ice. In 2016, the acclaimedmemoirist Brian Castner retraced Mackenzie's route by canoe in a grueling journey -- and discovered the Passage he could not find.Disappointment River is a dual historical narrative and travel memoir that at once transports readers back...

Details Disappointment River

TitleDisappointment River
Release DateMar 13th, 2018
PublisherMcClelland & Stewart
GenreHistory, Travel, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Adventure, Biography

Reviews Disappointment River

  • Jean
    I remember sitting in a high school class years ago in Canada learning about Alexander Mackenzie’s discovery of the Mackenzie River. At 1,100 miles, it is North Americas second largest river. Then as per usual in those days I would start to day dream about traversing the river with Mackenzie in his hunt for the northwest passage. Alexander Mackenzie made the trip in Jun 1789 with a crew of thirteen, made up of voyageurs and native people. In Ju...
  • Jim
    Marco Polo. Columbus. Magellan. Henry Hudson. Captain Cook. Alexander Mackenzie. Lewis & Clark....Mackenzie? We know the names of the great explorers (for both good and bad)--with one big exception. Alexander Mackenzie. I had read something about him as a kid and was fascinated by his story. Finally,with Castner's book published in 2018, we have the complete story of his life--and his epic journey in 1789 across a vast almost completely uninhabit...
  • Lizz
    Interesting research, but clearly written for a macho male audience.See my other ten word book reviews at my blog: tenwordbookreviews.wordpress.com
  • Casey Wheeler
    I received a free Kindle copy of Disappointment River by Brian Castner courtesy of Net Galley and Doubleday Books, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my nonfiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as the description sounded interesting - a mix of history and a modern day reen...
  • gnarlyhiker
  • Brenda Ayala
    The Northwest Passage is a giant pain in the ass. It’s harsh and cold and the weather is entirely unforgiving; it seems to drive people half-mad.After learning that, it makes it all the more impressive that Alexander Mackenzie did it back in the late 1700s and that our author followed in his footsteps more than 200 years later. It’s an arduous journey that is characterized by a ton of hazards. It was a surprisingly intense for being an histor...
  • Angie Boyter
    A really fascinating subject but ultimately disappointing due to writing styleSee my Amazon review: https://www.amazon.com/review/R3JE147...
  • Paul Womack
    Not quite what I expected, but more. A reflective account of several lives connected by a tumultuous river. Reading this book I was reminded that beyond our tame exiatences is passion, unpredictability, the unexpected, and for some of those still bold, the lure of discovery. I would not embark on such a joorney, but the author made it possible to share his adventure emotionally and mentally.
  • Sue
    I won this book on Goodreads. I will give it a fair and honest review.Castner’s Disappointment River is advertised as part historical narrative and part travel memoir. I will admit as a history buff I originally was more interested in the historical narrative. Once I started reading, Castner’s personal journey held my interest far more than Makenzie’s journey.Castner tells the story of Alexander Makenzie’s trip up the Deh Cho in the 1700s...
  • Christie Bane
    Disappointment River was a bit of a disappointment. It's the kind of book I should have really enjoyed. The author decides to recreate Alexander Mackenzie's historic voyage up the 1100-mile-long Canadian river that bears his name. Cool idea! But I was bored almost the whole time I was reading the book.First, there is way too much uninteresting history. I love history, as long as it is well-written, but this history didn't read like a cohesive nar...
  • Diane
    My 92 year old cousin suggested this book to me, knowing how much I enjoy books on exploration and re-exploration. The first 100 pages are a history of Alexander MacKenzie (no known relation) but for me the book really begins when Castner/MacKenzie arrive at the Grand Portage. I grew up canoeing in northern Minnesota but never knew that the Voyageurs came together every year at the Grand Portage. There were several other familiar places and of co...
  • Michael Ivison
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It alternates chapters between Mackenzie's journey in the late 1700s and Brian Castner's journey in the mid 2010s. The chapters about Mackenzie and his crew are engaging, fun, and educational. They are not extremely exhaustive in history, but there is enough detail to be educated and familiar with the time period and the difficulties of exploring then. For the historians and academics out there, it will probably te...
  • Marjorie Elwood
    There are two parallel stories in this book: one is of Alexander MacKenzie's voyage to look for the Northwest Passage (when Meriwether Lewis was still 14); the other is of the author's attempt to recreate that voyage. There is a great deal of emphasis (too much so, for me) on the history of various wars, although the information about the travels of the coureurs des bois was illuminating in that I hadn't realized how much of North America was dis...
  • Judy
    My kind of book. Castner provides well-documented history of Alexander MacKenzie's expedition in 1789 from Slave Lake to the Artic Ocean along the Den Cho (MacKenzie) River. Then he narrates his own 1000 mile journey in 2016 following MacKenzie's route. This river is huge (miles wide) and the terrain has changed minimally in 227 years. MacKenzie was in search of the Northwest Passage and called the river Disappointment River because he thought he...
  • Ellen
    I'm sure the author did extensive research on Alexander McKenzie and his attempt to find a trade route to the riches of the East back in 1789. I started to read some of the history but soon became overwhelmed by so many details of that man's life. I didn't even read about his journey, but only read about the author's journey on the Deh Cho river from Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean. He shared this journey with 4 different men, each of them helping...
  • Ward
    I really enjoyed this recounting of Alexander Mackenzie's voyage to the Arctic Ocean [kind of] via the Mackenzie River/ Deh Cho coupled with Brian Castner's own version. Reading his book has increased my comprehension of the enormity of that river as well as the diversity of the Northwest Territories that cannot be seen via most maps. Also, those were some savage times in those days of the fur traders and voyageurs! I hope I will be able to visit...
  •  wade
    Mr. Castner took it upon himself to reenact Alexander Mackenzie's 18th century trek by canoe of the now Mackenzie River through northern Canada and Alaska looking for the elusive Northwest Passage to China and the Pacific on a northern route. He shares his trip alternating with four other men. There are rapids, rainstorms, dishonest locals (and good ones) and mosquitoes, mosquitoes and more mosquitoes. This is a great book for the canoeist and th...
  • Tessa
    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I enjoyed what I read but found I was progressing incredibly slowly. When a friend and her new husband came for a visit, I found out that this book was in the wheelhouse of my friend's husband. I passed it on to him as I knew it would be well-read.For me, as a novice, this book took more effort than I had time to put forth. But it is definitely interesting. If it is your jam, I think you'll really apprecia...
  • Jon Box
    I enjoyed this saga of little-known history of McKenzie and the English Chief's search for a Northwest Passage interspersed with the challenges of the author's (Brian Castner's) quest to canoe the route in 2016. Further, I was reminded of many similar experiences in backwoods across the globe and found myself looking for time to continue the narrative. Note: I don't recall Castner describing his portages due to waterfalls along his modern day McK...
  • Renata
    I won this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. It turned out not to be my "cup of tea", as I am not an "outdoorsy" type but it is very well-written. Castner craftily weaves the history of David Mackenzie's life and explorations of Northern Canada together with his own attempt to paddle up the Mackenzie River. For those who are canoe and camping enthusiasts, this is a "must read". Kudos to Castner for successfully making this trek and for writin...
  • Matthew Komatsu
    If I’ve learned anything from Brian Castner’s books, it’s that the best nonfiction must be earned. In each one of his books, the prose feels deserved, rich with texture and detail. Disappointment River is no exception. Exhaustively and personally researched by duplicating McKenzie’s landmark adventure, not a single sentence feels out of place. There is something for both the armchair adventurer and the history buff in this book, and for f...
  • Batesharbuck
    Nice contrast between Castner's and MacKenzie's journeys. Both were incredibly tough, though Castner had much more of a safety net. He brought up lots of topics and issues: First Nations rights, climate change, development, but it all boiled down to the challenges the land and elements present, and depending on the people you are with.
  • Ricky Duncan
    This was a giveaway win for me. The blurb caught my interest, the book held my interest. Very nice mix of researched history with the authors personal experiences running side by side. I must admit I learned quite s bit of historical facts scattered through out this book. Highly recommended for Canadian history buffs
  • Therese
    I liked this book much more than expected. History and a modern northern adventure travel memoir all in one book. Mackenzie did call it Disappointment River; I like the idea of a name in honor of a perceived failure. Perhaps the world would be in less of a mess if we memorialized our limitations. Also, never again will I be able to complain about Wisconsin mosquitoes or a few fly bites.
  • Anna
    I really enjoyed the story of Brian Castner and his various partners canoeing the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean. Castner is retracing the steps of Alexander Mackenzie in 1789 who ran into ice and had to turn back. It sounds terrifying with rain, snow, wind, big waves, and bugs bugs bugs. I really like Castner's reading too. It's not fancy but there is something compelling about it.
  • Rich
    A highly-enjoyable tale of a historic canoe journey and a modern day trip to trace the original path. More historical and travel journal than adventure, but Castner does a good job of putting you in the heart of the Mackenzie River. I got itchy just thinking about the mosquito swarms!
  • Marsha
    This well-crafted memoir/biography takes the reader on an intense journey into the history of Alexander Mackenzie's exploration of northwest passage as we follow the author make the same journey 200 years later.. Wow. Well done!
  • Brenda Schneider
    Enjoyed the tracing of a historical trip. I would recommend reading. I won this book through goodreads.
  • Liz
    I was supposed to have received a copy of this book for a first reads giveaway. I would love review/read the book but unfortunately I am not able to since the book never arrived at my apartment.
  • Karen
    Two tales of canoeing the Mckenzie river in Canada, the first by the man whom the river is named and the second by a man and his three friends in 2016.