I read Kevin Fedarko's The Emerald Mile not long after it came out. I knew Kevin's work from his days at Outside Magazine, and have admired his work. Coincidentally, at about the same time I picked up Mark Bowden's The Finish, about killing Osama bin Laden. The contrast was extraordinary. I'm sure Bowden will sell many more copies because he wrote about a major event. But Fedarko's book is so much better. Bowden rehashed what we already knew. Fedarko found an unreported, magical story and unfolded a beautiful tale. When you're a nonfiction writer, this is the treasure you can only hope for: the unsung thing, ready for you. I have to admit, I was a little envious as I realized what he had done.
You do not need to be a river runner, an environmentalist, or a westerner to love this book, which chronicles an audacious, outrageous effort of the human spirit. Out of almost 500 reviews on Amazon, it got a 4.8 out of five rating. It's well deserved.