|Book Review - The Tecate Journals
Days on the Rio Grande
|by Linda Gorski
One of the things that has always impressed me about the members of the
Houston Canoe Club is how well-read you all are. That made me think how
great it would be to share reviews of books you've read with the rest
of the members. So we've decided to start a Book Review column in the
newsletter each month. This is your newsletter and your column -- if
you've read a good book send a review and we'll run it here.
I'll be happy to start with one of my favorite books, "The Tecate
Journals - 70 Days on the Rio Grande", by Keith Bowden. I'm sure I've
mentioned this book before, but we have a lot of new members who may
not have read it so I'll give it another review. Also, many of you may
be headed to the Big Bend to run the Rio Grande this spring. If so,
this is a must-read.
Keith Bowden truly loves the Rio Grande. He has paddled it numerous
times, mostly solo and mostly in a raft. A journalist and professor of
English at Laredo Community College, Keith decided to explore the 1,260
miles of the border river from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. This is
his fascinating account of the journey by bike, canoe, and raft along
one of North America's most overlooked resources.
This book is a page-turner. It's totally non-fiction and quite an
adventure story. One reviewer said, "From illegal immigrants and drug
runners trying to make it into America, to the border patrol working to
stop them; from human coyotes -- smugglers who help people navigate
their way into the United States - to encounters with real coyotes,
mountain lions, and other flora and fauna, Bowden reveals a side of
America that few of us ever see. The border between the U.S. and Mexico
is, in many ways, a country unto itself, where inhabitants share more
in common with fellow riverside dwellers than they do with the rest of
While Keith was on his 70 day journey he mailed letters to Houston
Canoe Club member Louis Aulbach, documenting his journey. Louis posted
them on his website so Keith's friends could keep up with his progress.
You can read Keith's "Letters from the River" at http://users.hal-pc.org/~lfa/KB00.html.
These letters eventually became part of his book.
The book has been very well received. Below are some complimentary
reviews. My review... go out and get the book yourself. It's a good
"It's a simple and candid adventure story made complex by
-- Texas Monthly
"Lighthearted but powerful tribute to the Great River."
-- Dallas Morning News
"The Tecate Journals is an impressive memoir about one
man's single-minded affection and respect for a river."
-- San Antonio Express News
"This is a well-written narrative of an epic journey
by bike, canoe, and raft... Well worth the reader's time."
-- The Oklahoma Observer
"Though constantly in harm's way, the author meets no
real harm and offers a vicarious adventure that's a pleasure to join."
-- The Sacramento Bee
"[Keith Bowden has a] knack for evoking extremity in
spare yet vivid language."
-- Austin American-Statesman
"[Keith Bowden] does a well-crafted job of documenting
the complexities inherent in sharing a waterway with another country.
More than a good adventure story, The Tecate Journals offers a concise,
eyewitness account of the controversial border today...[Bowden's] voice
overrides the noise of borderland jingoists with an honest,
straightforward and enduring narrative...It is the good fortune of
readers of classic Texas literature that the author has survived the
crossing to tell the tale."
-- Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine
|The author, Keith Bowden
The End ~~~