"This dynamic duo are retracing the footsteps of explorer John Wesley Powell, whose historic journey down the Colorado River in 1869 made him an American hero. With stunning photographs and lively, well-researched text, this book promises to be a must-have title for those readers interested in the exploration of the American West."
Shirley Raye Redmond, author of Stone of the Sun
"With my middle school education background, I was interested in reading a book that combined an historic adventure on the wild rivers of the western United States with the coming-of-age story of a young boy looking to find himself. This exciting book tells the tale of the travels of the great explorer John Wesley Powell down the wild Green River and Colorado River through modern eyes. The story weaves the present and past expertly to create a fresh view of an American hero."
L. Susan Tonelli, Los Alamos Public Schools, NM
It is my honor to be the illustrator of Conquering the Great Unknown by Angela Reuben. She is a talented author, and this book is a great read for photographers, geologists, Veterans, explorers, and historians. It is creative non fiction, and Reuben has included information that other authors did not include.
My role in its production consists of taking the photographs that will take the reader into the voyage personally. I am considering including maps with GPS coordinates for the photographers (in the paperback only). This book is the only one on the market that will have the maps. A cast of actors are helping with the illustrations.
AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
William Dunn agreed with Major Powell. Although he and Jack Sumner, the other rower, each had only one pair of oars left, the rapids ahead of them didn’t look as bad as the ones they had just survived. Normally, the boats pulled ashore if each of the teams didn’t have an extra oar. On this stretch of river, however, there was no shore or driftwood or trees. Just towering cliffs of rock.
Powell gave the signal to move forward. That suited Dunn just fine. The sooner they got out of this God-forsaken land the better. He was tired of eating moldy bread and bacon, and could live happily the rest of his life without ever again eating beans. He rowed in a steady rhythm.
When he noticed Powell stiffen, Dunn sat up straighter and studied the path they had chosen. The river channel veered sharply to the left ahead of them. If they didn’t maneuver right, they’d slam headlong into a thousand foot wall of solid rock! They were as good as dead.
Major Powell lifted his flag and waved it frantically, his signal for the other boats to land. “Pull in here, upstream from that cliff,” Powell yelled to Dunn and Sumner.
Suddenly the current ripped the oars from Dunn’s hands. Powerless to help control the boat, he looked back at Sumner, sitting in the stern. Sumner fought the churning water, trying desperately to bring their boat, The Emma Dean, to shore. His efforts were futile. The river had them in her grip and she wasn’t going to let them go this time. Overpowered and out of control, the river swept The Emma Dean and her passengers toward a boulder in the middle of the river. Dunn gripped the sides of the boat until his knuckles were white. Being in the bow, he’d feel the impact first. He’d die first.
He expected to smash on the rocks but felt the boat jerk to the side. Glancing behind him again, Dunn watched Sumner push the boat away from the rocks using his oar. Dunn took a deep breath. Looks like they were out of danger.
Seconds later, he was surrounded by water. His body moved in slow motion as if he were submerged. Did he just see a flash of blue sky?
Now water all around him.
Dunn realized he was rolling. Over and over the boat turned, deeply entrenched in a narrow channel, sucked in so tight they couldn’t escape. His hands were still locked tight to the sides of The Emma Dean. If he didn’t let go and get free of the boat, he would certainly drown.
The next time he saw blue sky, Dunn let loose of the boat and let the current drag him away. As he fought to breathe, he wondered what had happened to Sumner and Major Powell.
by Angela Reuben
This is only an excerpt.