Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
Anchor Books
Publish Date
5.1 X 7.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Brian Castner is a former Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer who received a Bronze Star for his service in the Iraq War. He is the author of two books, The Long Walk (2012) and All the Ways We Kill and Die (2016), and the co-editor of the anthology The Road Ahead (2017). His journalism and essays have appeared in Esquire, Wired, Vice, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and other publications. The Long Walk was adapted into an opera that has been performed at prestigious venues nationwide.


"Discovering history, and not just new landscapes around the next bend in the river, is one of the delights of Disappointment River. And, during a time when so many American descendants of foreign extraction rail against immigration, it's useful to recall that all of us originated in a diaspora."
--Rinker Buck, Wall Street Journal

"Vivid. . . . Castner has the Conradian ability to make you see and feel."
--The Washington Post

"Disappointment River is an adventure tale that will keep you happily reading while safely in your armchair."
--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Whether recounting the historic search for the Northwest Passage or his own epic journey on the Mackenzie River, Castner is an able guide, a steady hand, a voice of reason. You'll want to sit in his canoe and ride this out. I couldn't put Disappointment River down."
--Dean King, author of Skeletons on the Zahara and The Feud

"...[Castner] provides a lively biography of Mackenzie, the youngest principal in the Northwest Company, contending not just with the rigors of exploration, but also with early corporate politics...A vital addition to the library of the far north and of exploration."
starred review

"An exhilarating historical narrative...Castner evokes vivid personalities and drama from the archives ... Historians and armchair travelers alike will be equally pleased with this volume."
--Publishers Weekly

"Vividly described, in well-wrought scenes that alternate from inspiring to humorous to stomach-clenching... Castner is a highly skilled writer and engaging companion."
--Anchorage Daily News

"Appealing on both historical and contemporary levels, Castner's work will please readers fascinated by tales of discovery."

"...Intriguing and enlightening...For anyone concerned with the global effects of climate change, the meaning behind Disappointment River becomes alarmingly clear."