Celebrating the form, function and folklore of canoes in North America, this book traces their history, from early archaeological examples to the sleek Kevlar and epoxy canoes of today.

It begins with a foreword by renowned American writer John McPhee, who explores his love of canoes and canoeing through poignant, thrilling and often comic accounts of his time spent on (and sometimes in!) the water. Chapters cover dugout canoes and those made of birchbark, wood, wood and canvas, and synthetic materials, detailing the construction and characteristics of each type. All are described in the context of the people who made and used them, and the cultures and eras in which they lived.

Other chapters examine the canoe’s singular role in the 16th and 17th century fur trade, as well as the enduring popularity of recreational paddling in recent decades. The book is richly illustrated with material from a wide range of historical and contemporary sources, from paintings, photographs and print advertisements to explorer’s maps, patent drawings and other archival documents.

A fascinating read for paddlers, canoe builders, history buffs or anyone with a passion for this fabled watercraft. Softcover, 10" × 8", 370 pages, 2018.

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