Northern Wilds Magazine

Dead Man’s Rapids

By William Durbin & Barbara Durbin
University of Minnesota Press, $16.95

Starting where Blackwater Ben left off, Dead Man’s Rapids returns to the north woods of Minnesota, following 13-year-old Ben Ward and his adventures while working on a log drive in 1899. Ben, alongside his friend Nevers, decide to work in a logging camp; but peeling potatoes and setting tables wasn’t the adventure they had in mind. Then they meet Pete Sardman, an irritable character with a greasy apron, an eye patch, one deaf ear and plenty to say. There’s also the rest of the crew—a colorful, outrageous group of men. Together, Ben and Nevers endure freezing weather, dangerous rapids, logjams, storms, floods and gripping tall-tales, all while learning about logging on the river and even more about life. Using warmth, humor and attention to historical detail, Dead Man’s Rapids engages readers both young and old.Breana Roy


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