Old Canoeing Books

I am looking at some old canoeing books (60’s and 70’s)on Amazon. There are several by John Malo. Are they any good? Any other recomendations? Thanks.

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… Tamia (In The Same Boat) here on paddling.net articles … she has mentioned so many books in this catagory , and seems to have read every one ever written .

The american red cross has been publishing some cool canoeing instructional books for several decades. i have one published around 1977, which is fun to read. i have seen others published in the 50’s.

The Complete Wilderness Paddler
by Davidson (Davison?) and Rugge, from the '70s. Fun read.

– Mark

Will suggest a few…
The Canoe(An Illustrated History) by Jim Poling Sr.

Ruston and His Times in American Canoeing by Atwood Manley.

The Wood & Canvas Canoe by Jerry Stelmok, and Rollin Thurlow

Two of the most scholarly books (if you’re into that), that I’ve ever read are:

The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America, by Edwin Tappan, and Howard I. Chappelle.


The Canoe, A History of the Craft From Panama To The Artic, by Kenneth G. Roberts, and Phillip Shackleton.

International Marine Publishing Company, l983.

The last 2 are fairly difficult to find, and unless you get lucky, are fairly expensive. The original 1964 printing of The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America(for the Smithsonian Institute) was only 20,000 copies. It was reprinted by SI Press in 1994.


missing some letters
Ruston --> Rushton

Edwin Tappan --> Edwin Tappan Adney

Had long honey do list today; didn’t spell check.


More canoeing books

– Last Updated: Jun-25-08 10:13 PM EST –

Two great canoeing books are " Path of the Paddle An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Canoeing", 1984, and "Song of the Paddle An Illustrated Guide to Wilderness Camping", 1988, both by the late Bill Mason, Both published by Key Porter Books. He also did a beautiful coffee table book of his artwork titles "Canoescapes", 1995, published by The Boston Mills Press.

The best Red Cross canoeing book is "Canoeing" published in 1956. Somewhat dated today but still delightful to read as it is the work of one knowledgeable author, not the extensively compromised committee speak we usually get from the Red Cross.

Another fine book is "The Canoe A living Tradition" by John Jennings. Firefly Books, 2002

"Bark Canoes The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney" by John Jennings, 2004 Firefly Books. This book is about the models Adney made that the book "The Bark and Skin Boats of North America" is based on.


Two I’ve enjoyed are

– Last Updated: Jun-25-08 11:29 PM EST –

"Pole, Paddle & Portage" (1969) and "The Open Canoe" (1985), both by Bill Riviere. They're obviously dated as far as equipment is concerned and don't go into too much detail on paddling technique, but they cover the basics well. "The Open Canoe" has a brief history of the development of the canoe, and also contains a snapshot of American canoeing in the 1980's, with photos of early models by what are now "old established" manufacturers (as well as some now that are no longer with us). You can usually pick up both books at very reasonable prices at AbeBooks.com.


Another good one is "Birchbark Canoe" (1997) by David Gidmark, which I bought because it told how the birchbark canoe is constructed but which turned out to be a fascinating look at the Algonquin culture and history.

I have many of the books listed, but not all. i love reading about old equipment and methods. the Calvin Rustrum books are a great read as well.

i got one for you. 1977 The American
National Red Cross entitled Canoeing. 434 pages, 367 illistrations. WANT IT?

A must read…
North American Canoe Country: The Classic Guide to Canoe Technique by Calvin Rutstrum

Anything written by James Raffan
James Raffan is one of Canada’s foremost authorities on canoeing and the wilderness experience. He is Past Chair of the Artic Institute of North America and Governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

  1. Tumblehome: Meditations and Lore from a Canoeist. 2001 HarperCollins Ltd.

    An exploration of the notion that canoeing has the power to teach and transform us, even if the closest we’ve come to the wilderness is in front of the Discovery Channel.

  2. Deep Waters: Courage, Character and the Lake Timiskaming Canoeing Tragedy. 2002 HarperCollins Ltd.

    On the morning of June 12, 1978, 27 boys and 4 leaders from St. John’s School in Ontario, set out on a canoeing expedition from the wharf at Timiskaming, Quebec, headed for James Bay along an old voyageurs’ route. By evening the same day, all four canoes were overturned and floating aimlessly in the wind — 12 boys and one leader were dead. The rest huddled over a weak fire at the base of a cliff, waiting for the light of morning, and rescue. This is their story.

  3. Fire in the Bones: Bill Mason and the Canadian Canoeing Tradition. 1996 HarperCollins Ltd.

    Bill Mason was a filmmaker, author, artist, husband, and father who gave us classics such as Cry of the Wild, Paddle to the Sea, Path of the Paddle, Song of the Paddle, and Waterwalker. He was the consummate outdoorsman and a man of great faith. Fire in the Bones leads us into the heart of Bill Masons own brilliant imagination, on a biographical journey that is entertaining, enriching and inspiring.