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The Last River Rat: Kenny Salwey's Life in the Wild [Paperback]

Kenny Salwey , J. Scott Bestul
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £11.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Inc.,US (6 Jan 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938486552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938486555
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Description


Kenny Salwey is a modern-day American hermit who has lived most of his life in the Mississippi river bottoms, coming to know the river ecosystem with an intimacy unavailable to most. Now, Kenny shares his love of, and knowledge about, the mighty river. 'The Last River Rat' is a seasonal look at Kenny's unique life. Each chapter covers a month of Kenny's year and starts by detailing his activities -- such as deer hunting, ginseng digging, or mushroom picking -- and closes with one of Kenny's own 'Rat Tales' -- his personal thoughts on various aspects of his way of life, such as the importance of dogs or memories of other river rats with whom he has crossed paths. Through Kenny -- a true naturalist who provides sage advice about living off the land and protecting the river's ecology -- readers will gain a greater appreciation for the natural world. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A window into a dying way of life 20 Jan 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this is a beautiful book, full of evocative and detailed descriptions of Kenny Salwey's life in the Mississippi Whitman Swamp. It covers the natural cycles of life lived off the land.
If you have any interest in stepping out of the rat-race, and a simpler way of life then this is definitely one to try.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Honest Accounting of "A River Rat" 15 Jun 2002
By M. Ness - Published on
I have known Kenny since 1980, although I've only started reading this story I am extremely comfortable with the pace and grace Mr. Bestul uses. Kenny is everything the book says he is a very hard working, deliberate, honest, kind and caring person, without a mean bone in him. I've shared stories and bread with Kenny, and he really is the type of person you would like to know personally. Mary Kay's illustrations are graceful and a pleasure to view alongside this wonderful story.
In my opinion this book is a must for any outdoorsman, or for a quiet read next to a fire. I sincerely hope you enjoy Kenny's story as much as I am.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last River Rat 27 Mar 2006
By LaVerne C. Paulson - Published on
I have never met Kenny, but after reading this book, it seems as though I have known him most of my life. I grew up on a farm in Winona County in the 50's and 60's hunting and fishing every chance I had. Reading chapter after chapter, from my experiences which are a bit different, but similar, than Kenny's, I relived part of my life again and many of the phrases found in the book jogged my memory nicely. I spent four years at Winona State and did my share of fishing below the dam and wandering around some of the backwaters on the Wisconsin side of the river amid much of the wildlife Kenny encountered. Each almanac chapter, as well as the Rat Tales, are filled with information and feelings that only a true naturalist could convey. This book is a facinating account of a river rat's calendar year and all the beauty and excitement in and around the Mississippi River from one month to the next. A must read for anyone who lives in this area or wishes they did.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'll Never Be A River Rat, But... 23 May 2009
By Robert Daniels - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...after reading this book I feel like I came close.

In the daily fantasy world of "wow, wouldn't it be cool to live like that" most of us drift back to the conclusion that our current lives are pretty good after all.

And though when I got up this morning I felt perhaps more happy than ever in my cushy home with its central heat and air, I feel like I also got to live the cheater's version of being a River Rat.

And that's because this book is just so darned well written. Alternating between the words of the author and the words of Mr. Salwey the reader tastes the essence of River Rat life as each chapter covers one month of the year - beginning, fascinatingly enough, with April, the month a true River Rat considers "January."

One chapter you're digging ginseng, the next you're fishing, the next you're hunting ducks....and you get the full narrative of the changing pace and surroundings of each of these activities. You feel almost as if you are visiting a whole new country with each successive month.

Shucks, I live only an hour from the Mississippi myself. And though I will never be a River Rat, I got a good glimpse of the life, and thru this book I will forever be more mindful of our changing seasons, and the beauty of Nature right outside my door every day.
5.0 out of 5 stars A sadly dying way of life 8 Oct 2009
By Tony - Published on
In a world with buzz phrases like "localvore" and "green" its astonishing that more people haven't read, and been inspired by this book.

I've been working add more gathering and using of the food sources around me to my life, partially inspired by this book. Its always been a part of my life, but this has inspired me to do more. Its been immensely satisfying to do so.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 8 Mar 2014
By Pam Hamann - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, especially since Kenny only lives about 80 miles up the Mississippi from me in Wisconsin.
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