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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario's 2016 Young Authors Award
Winner of the 2017 Louise de Kiriline Award for Nonfiction

The age of exploration is not over.

When Adam Shoalts ventured into the largest unexplored wilderness on the planet, he hoped to set foot where no one had ever gone before. What he discovered surprised even him.

Shoalts was no stranger to the wilderness. He had hacked his way through jungles and swamp, had stared down polar bears and climbed mountains. But one spot on the map called out to him irresistibly: the Hudson Bay Lowlands, a trackless expanse of muskeg and lonely rivers, caribou and wolf - an Amazon of the north, parts of which to this day remain unexplored.

Cutting through this forbidding landscape is a river no explorer, trapper, or canoeist had left any record of paddling. It was this river that Shoalts was obsessively determined to explore.

It took him several attempts, and years of research. But finally, alone, he found the headwaters of the mysterious river. He believed he had discovered what he had set out to find. But the adventure had just begun. Unexpected dangers awaited him downstream.

Gripping and often poetic, Alone Against the North is a classic adventure story of single-minded obsession, physical hardship, and the restless sense of wonder that every explorer has in common.

But what does exploration mean in an age when satellite imagery of even the remotest corner of the planet is available to anyone with a phone? Is there anything left to explore?

What Shoalts discovered as he paddled downriver was a series of unmapped waterfalls that could easily have killed him. Just as astonishing was the media reaction when he got back to civilization. He was crowned “Canada’s Indiana Jones” and appeared on morning television. He was feted by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and congratulated by the Governor General. People were enthralled by Shoalts’s proof that the world is bigger than we think.

Shoalts’s story makes it clear that the world can become known only by getting out of our cars and armchairs, and setting out into the unknown, where every step is different from the one before, and something you may never have imagined lies around the next curve in the river.

©2016 Adam Shoalts (P)2019 Penguin Random House Canada

What the critics say

“Rare insight into the heart and mind of an explorer, and the insatiable hunger for the unknown that both inspires and drives one to the edge. Adam Shoalts, twenty-first-century explorer, calmly describes the things he has endured that would drive most people to despair, or even madness.” (Col. Chris Hadfield, astronaut, author, space station commander)

"Explorer Adam Shoalts's remarkable solo foray into the quietly dangerous and mysterious Hudson Bay Lowlands is the kind of incredible effort that fosters legends." (The Winnipeg Free Press)

“Move over Jacques Cartier, Christopher Columbus, and Sir Francis Drake - Adam Shoalts is this century’s explorer.” (The Hamilton Spectator)

What listeners say about Alone Against the North

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Not quite Shackleton

Written in the style of modern day reality TV series hosts. Everything seem exaggerated .
Not quite Shackleton

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egotistical

he thinks that what he does is highly important and that he is doing a service. he's just having a good time and stroking his ego

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Something to aspire to.

I, like many of us, had always been told the map was complete. There was nothing left to explore but the ocean floor and the stars. That each of the mountains I've climbed and valleys I've passed through are mapped, charted and photographed. There was nothing new to explore in this age of google earth... until I listened to Adam Shoalts books Alone against the North and Beyond the Trees.
After so many years of melancholy I feel that drive to explore rising once again. Thank you Adam for opening the eyes of those of us who didn't know there are still corners undiscovered. Maybe one day we'll cross paths and I'll congratulate you personally. Until then I have some serious exploring to plan out.

4 people found this helpful

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Adventurous, whimsical and informative

Adam Shoalts does a great job at narrating his enthralling experience with the Again river. The only reason I am giving it 4 stars overall, is because of the (albeit true to the story) F-bombs that are used as expletives. That was the only thing that kept me from listening to this account with my children (that and some gruesome details surrounding grim suicides of explorers).

Thanks Adam for undertaking an adventure of this type for all of us who can’t :)

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For listeners with limited wilderness experience

For the lay person it is an inspiring insight to remote wilderness adventure. I sensed a bit of an ego and a "look at me" attitude. Good for him for chasing down ambition and hunting down a burning desire to get it done though.

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Great Canadian Adventure

Nice to hear stories of adventure and exploration in the modern age. Though at times the descriptions may come off as a bit dramatic, you can appreciate that the situations the author/narrator faced were likewise - quite dramatic at the time, (being very alone in the very remote wilderness).
I appreciated that Adam Shoalts was able to paint a picture of the terrain he faced. Though I don’t aspire to be the first human to see those new areas, I appreciate the author’s passion to do so himself.

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Really exceeded my expectations

if a weekend canoe trip in Algonquin is about the limit of hardship that you're willing to ensure to satisfy your love of the outdoors, this wonderfully told story is a great way to vicariously live the life of a true adventurer.

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Inspirational but needs rounding out

I enjoyed this book - and I realize the author is the adventurer. This book has great story potential, but I thought the main story points could have been rounded out more.

Either way - I thought this was a greatly inspiring book showing perseverance and dedication to his passion. I'll list to this a second time and encourage anyone else to listen to it as well

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Young explorer.

I appreciate the exploration work of Adam Shoalts. I’d love to trek with him in the North.

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one of the best books ever.I cant wait to go canoe

one of the best books ever !!! I really enjoyed this book lots of good history! Rob Wolf outdoors

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  • J. Balisteri
  • 2021-09-14

A enjoyable listen, look last the braggy

A great story of a couple of very impressive solo adventures. The string lights of the book are the fantastic historical ancendotes, quotes and other info about the history of Canadian exploration. there are also several sections that create good suspense as Adam ventures solo into the unknown. Also great narration.

The only trouble I had with the book was that often the writing comes off as very self serving any braggy. If Adam could tone this down in other books, they would be much better and accessible.

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  • John Kelly Lewis
  • 2021-04-16

Not worth a credit

Author is very fond of himself and throws everyone around him under the bus at every opportunity. Slow, boring story. Made it through 3 painful chapters and returned.

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  • Joyce Baker
  • 2021-02-06

Borrring

I looked forward to reading this because I've ventured into snowbound areas. I was cautionary enough to use a guide in my explorations.
This book put me to sleep (several times) before I gave up.

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  • Steve
  • 2020-02-12

Great story.

Mr. Shoalts is a man with the soul of the men who explored the new world so long ago. A very old soul.
I truly hope that his interactions with the young canoers inspired at least one of them to explore, something or someplace. To not be afraid and to want to know.
Thanks for telling me your story.

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  • Marion
  • 2021-10-05

Excellent

It is a real attention grabber. It is as if I was along on the adventure. Loved it and wanted it to even last longer.

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  • Ron Morgan
  • 2021-05-14

Great explorer story

I enjoyed the story. fun to listen to an explorer story in which the expedition was done on little to no budget.

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  • gerry
  • 2021-04-14

this book will entertain and cause wonder

Adam is amazing, he lives a life I wish I could and his books have inspired me to spend as much time away from city's and technology as I can in the nice weather.

the adventures in this book alone will have you waiting to find out not just how he gets out of this jam but what the next one will be.

Adam should be knighted!

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  • franklin
  • 2021-02-19

Adventure

I love adventure books and this one did not disappoint. It had enough detail and enough adventure to keep me interested. Look forward to reading more by Adam.

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  • Bryce
  • 2021-01-07

If you liked Into The Wild, you’ll enjoy this book

It is so refreshing to read a modern non fiction adventure book that ends in triumph rather than tragedy. Adam Shoalts may be downright crazy and narrow minded at times throughout the book. But in order to accomplish what he did, you need to be crazy and hyper focused. His journeys are not for the faint hearted. They are for the fellow outdoorsmen that desires adventure beyond the developed campsites and heavily trafficked trails of well known national parks. The outdoorsman that dreams of traveling to more remote locations to disconnect from modern society. Living off the land, conquering it while admiring and respecting it along the way. Shoalts truly is a modern day explorer.