Erin Palmiter, Fulcrum Publishing
Paddlers Take on One of World's Wildest Rivers on Homemade Rafts;
True Story of Adventure and Survival in the Soviet Bloc
In Eugene Buchanan's Brothers on the Bashkaus, a group of Americans and Latvians find courage and comradeship as they tackle Class V and VI rapids in the Siberian wilderness
Denver, CO (6/5/2006)â€”From rafts made from old germ-warfare suits and felled logs to lifejackets stitched together from soccer balls and wine bladders, river running in the former Soviet Union has evolved much like Australian wildlife, completely free of outside influences.
Brothers on the Bashkaus, which recently received an â€˜A' rating by the Rocky Mountain News and made its coveted Summer Picks list, follows the exploits of one of the first groups of Westerners to experience this foreign style of rafting on a white-knuckled, 26-day trip down the Bashkaus River, one of the hardest whitewater runs in all Siberia.
In the early 1990s, armed with little more than former guiding experience and the prestigious Shipton/Tilman grant from W. L. Gore and Associatesâ€”the first of its kind ever awarded for a river expedition-- four Americans stumble into a chance encounter with ten Latvians and soon find themselves on one of the wildest rides in the world. Along the way they deal with everything from language barriers to armed horsemen and rapids lined with memorials to those who perished before them. They battle the elements and fear starvation, finding sustenance in pork fat, sugar cubes, and fish-eyeball soup along the way.
More than just a great adventure story, Brothers on the Bashkaus combines a fascinating study of a culture and history with a riveting play-by-play of the paddling maneuvers and survival skills needed to meet the day to day challenges in the canyon. Thrown together with a common mission, these men soon discover the bonding qualities of the river, a medium that dissolves cultural barriers as easily as sediment. The Bashkaus creates a common bond regardless of race, religion, or nationalityâ€”one in which strangers truly come together as brothers.
â€œA Class V ride through both big waters and a fast-changing culture.â€
â€”Jon Bowermaster, National Geographic Adventure author/adventurer
â€œThis is a book in which the author is on fire with his subject. Eugene Buchanan studies, chases, and pours down one of the world's wildest rivers in a journey sometimes terrifying, often chilling, but always mesmeric and drenched with resonance. The story is swiftly moving, yet it superbly delineates the cultural and political context out of which this expedition arose. Buchanan is a gifted narrator, with seeming total recall and a lucid candor and self-awareness, as well as a talent for painting topographical views of gorges and rapids that have an almost surreal power. Brothers on the Bashkaus is, in a fashion, an elegy for a lost moment of cultural and environmental first contact. It is a torrent of a bookâ€¦ Take the plunge!â€
â€”Richard Bangs, founding partner of Mountain Travel/Sobek, author of 11 books, including Mystery of the Nile, Adventures without End, The Lost River, River Gods, and Riding the Dragon's Back
â€œAdventure paddling is fun enough, but it becomes epic, zany, and outrageous when it's set in the manic madness of modern Russia. Imagine Hunter S. Thompsonâ€”without the drugsâ€”running Class VI. Can't conjure up the image? Sit down on a comfortable chair, get some raw pork fat for munchies, and read Eugene Buchanan's Brothers on the Bashkaus for a wild, hungry ride in improbable boats with a bunch of crazies. The book exposes the unadulterated spirit of whitewater adventureâ€”stripped clean of all the fancy stuff, like paddles and lifejackets.â€
â€”Jon Turk, author of In the Wake of the Jomon and Cold Oceans
â€œBuchanan's blood is two parts river. This is a memorable tale of adventure, friendship, and a confluence, or collision, of cultures. Buchanan and his cohorts get tossed almost by happenstance onto the wildest of rivers in a land where the gear is homemade, local horsemen go crazy on strong tea, memorials to dead paddlers perch on the banks, and, as at an execution, nothing can happen until a last cigarette is smoked.â€
â€”Peter Heller, author of Hell or High Water, Outside magazine contributor
â€œYour fate is tied to strangers in a strange land inâ€”strangest of allâ€”a craft hewn from the forest primevalâ€¦ a monster Siberian whitewater river before you. A reader could want for no better guide than Eugene Buchanan, an expert storyteller who knows firsthand that if you are good, lucky, and don't mind daily fat cubes, the best expeditions sometimes emerge out of the worst predicaments. Superb.â€
â€”Todd Balf, author of The Last River and the forthcoming Comet: The Untold Story of Major Taylor and How He Beat the Color Line (Crown Publishing, 2007)
â€œEugene Buchanan's paddling expertise and sharp reportorial eye will sweep you breathlessly down one of the world's wildest, toughest, and most remote rivers, in company with the knights-errant of Siberian whitewater. A fascinating cultural and adventure read.â€
â€”Peter Stark, author of The Last Breath and At the Mercy of the River
About the Author
Eugene Buchanan is the 14-year publisher and editor-in-chief of Paddler magazine, and founder of Paddling Life, an E-zine for paddling. He is also a freelance writer for national magazines such as Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Men's Journal, and others. A member of New York's prestigious Explorers Club, he is an avid adventurer with several first descents to his credit. His passion for traveling, writing, and paddling has taken him to more than 30 countries on six of the seven continents, from Australia and Africa to South America and Siberia. He lives with his wife and two daughters, a block away from the Yampa River, the last remaining free-flowing tributary to the Colorado River.
About Fulcrum Publishing
Founded in 1984, Fulcrum Publishing is one of the largest independent publishers in the country, with more than 450 active titles. The company maintains a high standard of quality and pride in its books, with the objective of encouraging readers to live life to the fullest and learn something new each day. Fulcrum Publishing specializes in general interest nonfiction titles with focuses in public policy, education, Native American culture and history, travel and outdoor recreation, environmentalism, and gardening. Fulcrum is headquartered in Golden, Colorado.
For more information on Brothers on the Bashkaus please visit www.fulcrumbooks.com.
Brothers on the Bashkaus: A Siberian Paddling Adventure
Pub date: April 2007
PB â€¢ $15.95
ISBN 10: 1-55591-608-2; ISBN 13: 978-1-55591-608-4
5 x 8