Preface: We Surely All Will Die

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.—Helen Keller

In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran and self-made college professor with a passion for exploration, organized a team of nine other men in four boats to tackle one of the last uncharted wildernesses of the United States. They traveled almost 1,000 miles down the Green River and the Colorado River into the heart of the Grand Canyon. In open boats, without life jackets, they made difficult portages around the most dangerous stretches. Sometimes ...

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