Canoeing with the Cree: 75th Anniversary Edition Info

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In 1930 two novice paddlers—Eric Sevareid and Walter C.
Port—launched a secondhand 18-foot canvas canoe into the Minnesota
River at Fort Snelling for an ambitious summer-long journey from
Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Without benefit of radio, motor, or good
maps, the teenagers made their way over 2,250 miles of rivers, lakes,
and difficult portages. Nearly four months later, after shooting
hundreds of sets of rapids and surviving exceedingly bad conditions and
even worse advice, the ragged, hungry adventurers arrived in York
Factory on Hudson Bay—with winter freeze-up on their heels. First
published in 1935, Canoeing with the Cree is Sevareid's classic
account of this youthful odyssey.
Praise for
Canoeing with the Cree
"Canoeing with the
Cree is an all-time favorite of mine." —Ann Bancroft, Arctic
explorer and co-author of No Horizon Is So Far

/>"Two high school graduates make an amazing journey . . . showing
indomitable courage that carried them through to their destination.
Humor and a spirit of adventure made a grand, good time of it, in spite
of storms, rapids, long portages and silent wildernesses."
—Library Journal

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Reviews for Canoeing with the Cree: 75th Anniversary Edition:

4

Apr 30, 2017

Two teens just graduated from high school get the idea to make a 2250 mi trip from Minnesota to Hudson Bay, never made before by canoe. Hardships such as getting lost, freezing temperatures, treacherous rapids and portages follow. I didn't realize this 1935 memoir was written by the famous newscaster/journalist Eric Severeid about his trip with his best friend.
4

Oct 10, 2016

I cannot say how happy I am that this book found its way back into print! What a fascinating testament to the tenacity of youth. Two young men just out of high school decide that summer in the 1920s to canoe 2,250 miles from Minnesota to Hudson Bay. Almost everyone they meet tells them it can't be done; that they are foolish to go that far. Yet, they are determined to see this through, and see it through they do! They were likely the first men to do so....if there was a trapper in the far I cannot say how happy I am that this book found its way back into print! What a fascinating testament to the tenacity of youth. Two young men just out of high school decide that summer in the 1920s to canoe 2,250 miles from Minnesota to Hudson Bay. Almost everyone they meet tells them it can't be done; that they are foolish to go that far. Yet, they are determined to see this through, and see it through they do! They were likely the first men to do so....if there was a trapper in the far reaching past who could not document the journey, perhaps they followed in his paddle strokes. But no one knows. The boys are writing articles for a newspaper all along the way, and are facing dangers most people only have in nightmares, battling time as winter cold approaches. It is written in an easy, almost "letter to home" style, and is such a joy to read. The author is one of the two boys...Eric Sevareid. One can say this adventure and the writing of it, launched his journalism career. Certainly it was a summer that made him a man. ...more
4

Jun 03, 2010

If I were going to recommend a nature-adventure book for adults, I'd definitely recommend 'Kon-Tiki' over 'Canoeing with the Cree.' The former can get preachy at times, but it's often beautifully written (this one's not), it's coherent(this one isn't), and it's got a sense of historical context (again not true of 'Cree'). But this book is going to be perfect for my English III classes, the quarter on the theme of nature.

'Cree' isn't trying to be a nature book, which is why it's going to work If I were going to recommend a nature-adventure book for adults, I'd definitely recommend 'Kon-Tiki' over 'Canoeing with the Cree.' The former can get preachy at times, but it's often beautifully written (this one's not), it's coherent(this one isn't), and it's got a sense of historical context (again not true of 'Cree'). But this book is going to be perfect for my English III classes, the quarter on the theme of nature.

'Cree' isn't trying to be a nature book, which is why it's going to work well. It's an account of two high-school boys who decide to paddle up the Minnesota River into Canada and all the way to Hudson Bay, over 2200 miles. The book is essentially worked-up journals, day piled after day, as the boys get farther and farther from people and comfort. Ultimately, the book (unwittingly) sparks a lot of the same questions as Thoreau, the writer who'll be one of the bases of the quarter. ...more
4

Dec 29, 2009

Always a big fan of true outdoor adventure stories, I was especially intrigued when I heard about this one because the author, who was only 17 at the time, was someone whose name was well-known to me. Eric Sevareid was a long-time reporter and anchorman for one of the national news networks during the 60's and 70's.

Canoeing with the Cree is the story of Sevareid and his friend, Walter Port, both teenagers, who decide to spend the summer of 1930 canoeing all the way from their home in Minneapolis Always a big fan of true outdoor adventure stories, I was especially intrigued when I heard about this one because the author, who was only 17 at the time, was someone whose name was well-known to me. Eric Sevareid was a long-time reporter and anchorman for one of the national news networks during the 60's and 70's.

Canoeing with the Cree is the story of Sevareid and his friend, Walter Port, both teenagers, who decide to spend the summer of 1930 canoeing all the way from their home in Minneapolis to Hudson Bay over 2000 miles away. It is an incredible story. The trip was no cake walk; in fact, these two teenagers were likely the first people to complete this trip and were also likely the first to ever canoe the last stretch down God's River to Hudson Bay. Many times while reading this book I thought how easily this trip could have turned disastrous. I wondered if I would ever permit my teenage boys to do something as wild and reckless. Of course I wouldn't. But on the other hand, I know these two boys had the adventure of a lifetime and never regretted it for the rest of their lives.

This book made me re-evaluate what life is all about. We need to take chances in life. We need to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Always playing it safe is for sissies who will lie on their deathbeds wondering what they did with their lives.

Anyway, this is a great book. It is very short and easy to read, and every page of it is interesting and delightful. ...more
5

Jan 14, 2013

Great nonfiction read aloud! My children and I really enjoyed it.
4

Jul 16, 2015

Really brilliant and quite funny. I can't believe it took me this long to get around to it.
3

Aug 19, 2017

Title misleading. It is two white boys canoeing where the Cree live. They hardly ever are actually canoeing with the Cree. However, entertaining, although dated, adventure story. I was reading it aloud to a tween and we talked about some of the inherent racism.
5

Nov 10, 2007

I burned through this wonderful little book my Mom sent me. It relates the true story of a canoe trip in 1930 from Minneapolis to Hudson's Bay by Eric Sevareid and friend. This is a real epic adventure; it is hard to imagine the courage of these yong men paddling off into the emptiness of northern Manitoba. The narrative was engaging and very humane. You got to know a little about these guys, how they related to the world and to one another. It it just a wonderful, uplifting read.
5

Aug 15, 2007

Facing high school graduation, a couple of teens decide to spend their summer on an epic adventure prior to starting college and careers. Their goal: canoe from the Twin Cities to Hudson Bay.

Only 17 years old at the time, Eric Sevareid convinced not only his mother to let him go, but also a local newspaper to fund part of the adventure in return for periodic updates on their progress. Much of the route was uncertain, and they had to rely on the local population to help them find their way.

I'd Facing high school graduation, a couple of teens decide to spend their summer on an epic adventure prior to starting college and careers. Their goal: canoe from the Twin Cities to Hudson Bay.

Only 17 years old at the time, Eric Sevareid convinced not only his mother to let him go, but also a local newspaper to fund part of the adventure in return for periodic updates on their progress. Much of the route was uncertain, and they had to rely on the local population to help them find their way.

I'd recommend this book as a high school graduation gift or as an inspirational story for any teen who is struggling with impending adulthood. For adults, it's a nostalgic look at what our experience with the outdoors used to be prior to GPS and cell phones. It's also an introduction to a future newscaster.



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5

Oct 30, 2017

First published in 1935, just five years after graduating from high school, the story recounts how the just-graduated young Arnold Eric Sevareid and Walter C. Port set out on a 2250 canoe trip from Fort Snelling in Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. They were only 18-year-old novice canoeists, they had only rudimentary maps for the last 500 miles, and they were in a race with a winter that was nipping at their heels as they neared their destination nearly 4 months after their departure. They were First published in 1935, just five years after graduating from high school, the story recounts how the just-graduated young Arnold Eric Sevareid and Walter C. Port set out on a 2250 canoe trip from Fort Snelling in Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. They were only 18-year-old novice canoeists, they had only rudimentary maps for the last 500 miles, and they were in a race with a winter that was nipping at their heels as they neared their destination nearly 4 months after their departure. They were constantly battling the elements and terrain the entire length of the trek. And there was no record of anyone ever having done it before. First, because there was no need to. Hudson Bay is a meaningful destination only if approached by sea. And second, by 1930 when young Sevareid and Post made their expedition there was already a railroad that would take you, in comfort, to the bay.

But make it they did, with some inspiration from Rudyard Kipling. It was an exercise in living on minimal standard subsistence food, poor equipment and clothing, and minimal navigational guides. And though they received emotional support from friends and family, experts and those with experience on the route were spar in their encouragement. What I find even more amazing was that the young Sevareid was able to write and publish his book covering this saga while still an undergraduate student at the U of Minnesota.

I was able to detect flashes of brilliance in the writing of this amazing 23-year-old, who would go on to become one of America's great journalists.

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4

Sep 14, 2017

I choose this book because I was into the adventure type book that was based on a true story. So I came across Canoeing with the Cree. This book is about two teenage boys who decide to go on a journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. This trip was is about 2,250 miles long. They choose to go with an 18ft canoe that has no motor or sail it only had two paddles. The boys began their trip with all the needed essential food water and camping equipment. As they made their way with this trip they I choose this book because I was into the adventure type book that was based on a true story. So I came across Canoeing with the Cree. This book is about two teenage boys who decide to go on a journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. This trip was is about 2,250 miles long. They choose to go with an 18ft canoe that has no motor or sail it only had two paddles. The boys began their trip with all the needed essential food water and camping equipment. As they made their way with this trip they encountered some good things and some bad things. There was one part in which the paddle gave a splinter to Eric and they had to stop and buy a new one but this time it had copper around the handle so nobody would get a splinter again. But by the end, I still enjoyed the book as I thought it had a good flow and I also learned some survival skills by the end and some canoeing tricks also.

After reading the book what I mostly liked about it was how each chapter was different in some way. For example, one chapter was explaining how they were going to ration their food and what they would cook and how they would cook it. They had certain foods that would allow them to become more persist with their rowing and others that would be to eat at night when resting because the food would be so heavy (ham and beans). Another part of the story I liked is how along the trip they would trade items in exchange for something a little better. One time they exchanged something for couple bottles of fresh cold milk given to them by an elderly lady who owned a farm.

Something that I thought would have changed the story completely is if Eric and Walter had their own parts in the story. Meaning, each of the boys having a section in the story giving each of them an opportunity of speaking kind of like "A long walk to Water" setup. In this story, Eric is the one telling the story. I only say this because it would have been nice to see what Walt thought about certain things that happened along the trip. Maybe he would have said something that would have changed the way I thought about on the characters. But this did not ruin the story for me I just thought that how it was going to be written.

Other than that this book was really good and for the people that enjoy adventure stories that a good flow and make you imagine parts of the story this book is an excellent choice. You will also learn couple things while reading it. ...more
5

Apr 14, 2018

Great read!

This was a great story, told through the eyes of youth and finished with the voice of experience. Highly recommend to all who love the outdoors.
5

Aug 11, 2018

I found this book on Kevin Callan's reading list and enjoyed the book so much that I finished it in just two days! It's a light read and anyone with a love for canoeing and ezploration will really enjoy it. Highly recommend!
5

Apr 26, 2019

River adventure from another time

When I moved to Minneapolis in 2006 is soon heard local paddlers refer to this book. Not until this year, when I plan to start my source to sea Mississippi River paddle did I finally read it. I highly recommend it to anyone with a sense of adventure. You will be inspired.
4

Aug 23, 2018

Enjoyed this very unique account of two young men that chose to pursue a great adventure to canoe from Minnesota to the Hudson Bay. They endured many obstacles that we can only imagine. Well written and very enjoyable.

The version I read is a reprint by the Minnesota Historical Society (1968) and obviously does not include the forward by Ann Bamcroft.
5

Mar 24, 2017

Loved it. An honest and simple story of a true wilderness adventure that two 18 year old boys undertook roughly 90 years ago. They paddled an eighteen foot canoe from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay and lived to tell the tale. In a time when much of where they travelled is far more remote and untamed than even now, the feat is still probably nearly unimaginable to even those who would now consider themselves outdoorsman.
4

May 06, 2018

This is a wonderful story, a terrific little book, especially for any young person with an appreciation for the outdoors and a sense of adventure. That said, I highly recommend it to anyone of any age simply because it really is an amazing story. It's a small book for such a long trip but it's simply Sevareid's journal and you can only write so much when you're on the trail. I've had it on my shelf for years and I really sorry I waited this long to read it.
4

Sep 03, 2019

I am rereading this book for the third time to lead a discussion with my book club which is composed of 5 30-somethings and me...a 65 year old. I’m excited to see their take on this book written even before my time. I have previously discussed it with a book club of my contemporaries and it will be interesting to contrast the two. Of special interest will be the literary references in the story and the treatment of the Natives.
5

Sep 29, 2018

Canoeing with the Cree is a 20th-century journey that echoes the adventures and challenges of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In 1930, two Minnesota high-school graduates with limited backwoods experience set off on a six-month river trip in a second-hand canoe. They traveled up the Minnesota River to its source, and with a short portage, traveled down the mighty Red River of the North to the Hudson Bay, ending just before close of the shipping season. Along the way, they pushed their limits, Canoeing with the Cree is a 20th-century journey that echoes the adventures and challenges of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In 1930, two Minnesota high-school graduates with limited backwoods experience set off on a six-month river trip in a second-hand canoe. They traveled up the Minnesota River to its source, and with a short portage, traveled down the mighty Red River of the North to the Hudson Bay, ending just before close of the shipping season. Along the way, they pushed their limits, expanded their horizons, and discovered far-away community. ...more
5

Nov 05, 2017

To have the courage (or maybe the foolish bravado) to believe that you can canoe from Minneapolis to the Hudson Bay when you are but 17 and 19 years old, and actually do it. Wow! I love the simple tale of hardships and joys. Loved to hear that in 1930 Walt and Bud didn't see a whitetail until they were nearly to Winnipeg. Eighty years later deer are everywhere along the Minnesota leg of their journey. Was sobered by their observations of how whites treat First Nations people. Appreciated their To have the courage (or maybe the foolish bravado) to believe that you can canoe from Minneapolis to the Hudson Bay when you are but 17 and 19 years old, and actually do it. Wow! I love the simple tale of hardships and joys. Loved to hear that in 1930 Walt and Bud didn't see a whitetail until they were nearly to Winnipeg. Eighty years later deer are everywhere along the Minnesota leg of their journey. Was sobered by their observations of how whites treat First Nations people. Appreciated their honesty about how easily anger comes along with hardship but that intellect urges cooperation to insure mutual survival. ...more
4

May 11, 2019

Canoeing with the Cree was an interesting and adventuresome account of two fearsome young men who graduated high school and took the summer to canoe over 2200 miles from Minneapolis to the Hudson Bay. With minimal supplies and even less experience, these two traveled through unmapped northern Manitoba. Sevareid kept a written account of their progress, later developed into this book, and along the way, sent articles of their travels to the Minneapolis Star beginning Sevareid's journalism career/ Canoeing with the Cree was an interesting and adventuresome account of two fearsome young men who graduated high school and took the summer to canoe over 2200 miles from Minneapolis to the Hudson Bay. With minimal supplies and even less experience, these two traveled through unmapped northern Manitoba. Sevareid kept a written account of their progress, later developed into this book, and along the way, sent articles of their travels to the Minneapolis Star beginning Sevareid's journalism career/ Those not much younger than myself may not remember Sevareid's years as a CBS news correspondent. His name was familiar to me, though, primarily because I was in high school with his nieces and nephew.

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4

Feb 06, 2019

A charming book that I loved for two reasons: personal experience and time capsule. For anyone who has taken a long canoe trip, this is spot on. I knew many of the problems that these boys faced and many of the joys as well based on my Scout trip many years ago. I also found their perspectives and energy just like that which I saw in my Scouts, so this was a delight. The other reason that I liked the book was that it presented an America from a different time. Largely unpopulated, wild and A charming book that I loved for two reasons: personal experience and time capsule. For anyone who has taken a long canoe trip, this is spot on. I knew many of the problems that these boys faced and many of the joys as well based on my Scout trip many years ago. I also found their perspectives and energy just like that which I saw in my Scouts, so this was a delight. The other reason that I liked the book was that it presented an America from a different time. Largely unpopulated, wild and filled with promise, the America in this book is exciting, rugged and a place where an introductory letter could ensure you much hospitality. How amazing that the readers of this text originally in the newspaper would have thrilled to all of this. ...more
3

Jan 14, 2019

Considered a classic of canoe lore, in 1930 two young American's set out from Minneapolis to do something no one was believed to have done before: paddle a canoe from Minnesota all the way to James Bay in Canada.

It's a quick read and a fun one but doesn't really age well. The authors who were teenage boys at the time (so we should cut them some slack) continually refer to "half-breeds" which isn't exactly a "politically correct" term these days. And despite the title they spend as much time Considered a classic of canoe lore, in 1930 two young American's set out from Minneapolis to do something no one was believed to have done before: paddle a canoe from Minnesota all the way to James Bay in Canada.

It's a quick read and a fun one but doesn't really age well. The authors who were teenage boys at the time (so we should cut them some slack) continually refer to "half-breeds" which isn't exactly a "politically correct" term these days. And despite the title they spend as much time interacting with Whites as with Cree.

Also they believed in the debunked Kensington Runestone hoax which claimed that Vikings made it wall the way to Minnesota. But you can't blame two teenagers in 1930 for that considering the wild conspiracy theories that float around these days.

I would suggest this is for canoe enthusiasts only or maybe those that want a glimpse of what Canada looked like almost 100 years ago - hint it was more primitive than you think.
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5

Jul 21, 2018

This fine book--still in print after 75 years--is a must read for any adventurer who appreciates canoeing, fishing, camping, and the wilds. Eric Sevareid, one of America's leading journalists of World War II fame (he broke the story of The Fall of Paris firsthand) as one of Edward R. Murrow's fellow reporters.
But this enjoyable read was the springboard to that long journalistic career. Sevareid and his friend, Walter Port, freshly graduated from high school, concocted the impossible canoe ride. This fine book--still in print after 75 years--is a must read for any adventurer who appreciates canoeing, fishing, camping, and the wilds. Eric Sevareid, one of America's leading journalists of World War II fame (he broke the story of The Fall of Paris firsthand) as one of Edward R. Murrow's fellow reporters.
But this enjoyable read was the springboard to that long journalistic career. Sevareid and his friend, Walter Port, freshly graduated from high school, concocted the impossible canoe ride. Sponsored by a Minnesota newspaper, the two boys recorded their trials and wonders in a grueling trip of 2,250 water miles. The country was still very wild in 1930, and at every turn were people telling them they couldn't do it.
Braving rushing rapids, storms, difficult portages, and an array of animals, Sevareid and Port were aided at times by the knowledge and general goodwill of old traders, trappers, Canadian mounties and the Cree Indians. You don't have to wet your paddle--just read this book. ...more
4

Feb 26, 2017

Canoeing with the Cree, Eric Sevareid, 1935. Mike McMahon gave this book to his daughter Gwen this Christmas, and read it himself. He thought I’d enjoy it, and lent it to me. I did enjoy it, and want to ask Gwen about it next time I see her. She reads so many book, though! I wonder what she’ll remember.

For my part, I most enjoyed the last chapters, as Sevareid and his canoeing partner, fellow teenager Walt Port, traversed the last 500 miles from Norway House just north of Lake Winnipeg, to the Canoeing with the Cree, Eric Sevareid, 1935. Mike McMahon gave this book to his daughter Gwen this Christmas, and read it himself. He thought I’d enjoy it, and lent it to me. I did enjoy it, and want to ask Gwen about it next time I see her. She reads so many book, though! I wonder what she’ll remember.

For my part, I most enjoyed the last chapters, as Sevareid and his canoeing partner, fellow teenager Walt Port, traversed the last 500 miles from Norway House just north of Lake Winnipeg, to the southern shore of Hudson Bay. Reading it, I was struck not only by the ruggedness of the land, but by winter’s looming presence as the boys drove deeper into September as they traveled north. Sevareid doesn’t say this, but they nearly didn’t make it. Gaunt and cold in a nearly unpopulated land, one mishap – even perhaps a broken oar – would spell destruction. But they carried on and prevailed.

The earlier chapters of Canoeing with the Cree are interesting, too. Sevareid and Port canoe through Minnesota and Manitoba in 1930, and the book has some description of the farms, towns, and people they encounter. Overall, the book is marred by the explicit and embedded racism impacting the Ojibwe and Cree people they see. Sevareid in 1930 carried the unrecognized privilege of his race, and a ready prejudice against Native Americans. In his later book of essays, Not So Wild a Dream (1946), he reflected on the 1930 canoe trip in the light of his experiences in other countries, better recognizing the imperialism of the European settlers in North America for what it was.

Sevareid went on to one of the most illustrious careers in American news broadcasting, including reporting on the Blitz in London, and becoming in 1940 the first to report of the fall of Paris. As North Dakota humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson points out, Sevareid’s commentaries following Walter Cronkite’s news-telling on CBS from 1963-1977 were major contributions to millions of Americans’ understanding of those tumultuous times.
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