When retired CEO Ramsay Peard, 61, called his old friend David Morine, 59, and asked the longtime conservationist if he wanted to canoe the Connecticut River, Morine said he’d do it under one condition: no camping. “We’ll rely on the kindness of strangers.”
And that’s what they did. Mooching their way down the river and staying with strangers every night, Morine and Peard got an inside look at such issues as the demise of farming, the loss of manufacturing, gay rights, and Wal-Mart versus Main Street, and they were able to delve deep into the lives of complete strangers. But Morine soon realized the one life he never dug into was Peard’s. After spending a month with him in a canoe, he had no idea that his friend’s innermost thoughts had taken a fateful course.
Written in the tradition of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, this book will be treasured by conservationists, canoeists, and old friends still seeking a thrill. Everyone else will be delightfully entertained.
“Fans of Dave Morine will be delighted and not at all surprised that his newest work, Two Coots In a Canoe, is—nearly to the end—a book of laughter, an account of the comic misadventures of two old friends as they float down the sunlit Connecticut River. And then come the final pages: The two friends' dark destination will surprise and shock all readers, even those with the wits of a wood tick. This remarkable book should be bought and read. Those who do will remember it for a long time.”—Bil Gilbert, author of God Gave Us This Country and winner of the National Magazine Award
“A great story about the mystery of friends and comfort of strangers. Dave is not just the supreme conversationalist but also the original conservationist; he virtually defined the art and practice of private land conservation in the 70's and 80's. No one engages people the way he does. His journeys are always worth sharing. John McPhee's birchbark canoe has nothing over two coot's canoe.” —Spencer B. Beebe, President, Ecotrust
“Dave ‘Bugsy' Morine has once again given us a great book—an adventure story that I would have published when editor of National Geographic Magazine.” —Bill Garrett
“This is the story of two men in one canoe, but on two different journeys. One sees endless opportunities while the other knows his fate is sealed before he ever picks up his paddle. Fresh and honest, light and dark, terminal yet hopeful—these are the undercurrents of a gifted storyteller who undertakes a modern adventure down a storied river valley. Enjoy Dave Morine's tale: he is a wonderful raconteur.” —Howard Corwin, M.D., psychiatrist, conservationist
“Dave Morine has done it again, proving that it is often what you do when you aren't striving to get ahead that is most important. When you finish this book, you'll want to drop everything, grab a canoe, and explore your own river.” —George H. Fenwick, President, American Bird Conservancy
“It has been said Dave Morine never let truth get in the way of a good story, that this is all true makes it that much better a story—about a friendship and a river. The river conservation message is inspiring.” —Rebecca R. Wodder, President of American Rivers
“I just finished my journey down the Connecticut River with Dave Morine and Ramsay Peard, and couldn't wait to share this recommendation with armchair adventurers everywhere. . . . I found good reading (and fascinating people) around every bend in the river. The ending makes all the more poignant their happy, revealing reliance on the kindness of strangers.” —Doug Wheeler, former Executive Director, Sierra Club
“Morine's account of the trip suggests Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (1889), but it's a bit more serious than that… The book is less about the people whom the canoers meet along the way (although they do encounter a colorful assortment) and the communities they discover than it is about the relationship between the two men and the startling, tragic turn it will take. A book that will entertain you and make you laugh until, at the end, it makes you want to cry.” - Booklist