River of Lakes
A Journey on Florida's St. Johns River

Bill Belleville

"[A] tour-de-force." -Publishers Weekly


"Bill Belleville has written a thoughtful and engaging book about a great American river. He fully appreciates the natural values and rich history of the St. Johns and makes what I hope is a compelling case for the preservation of what is left of its native ecology and wild spirit."
—Christopher Camuto, author of Another Country: Journeying toward the Cherokee Mountains

"On a slow poke by kayak down Florida's St. Johns River, journalist Belleville listens attentively and yearningly for biophilic strains from the historic waterway. . . . . Belleville reveals the waterway's exotic voluptuousness . . . in writing that is both silvery and refreshingly unrehearsed . . . two qualities much in keeping with the milieu. Belleville creates in the reader a protective affection for the St. Johns, all any river can ask of its lover."
—Kirkus Reviews

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First explored by naturalist William Bartram in the 1760s, the St. Johns River stretches 310 miles along Florida's east coast, making it the longest river in the state. The first "highway" through the once wild interior of Florida, the St. Johns may appear ordinary, but within its banks are some of the most fascinating natural phenomena and historic mysteries in the state. The river, no longer the commercial resource it once was, is now largely ignored by Florida's residents and visitors alike.

In the first contemporary book about this American Heritage River, Bill Belleville describes his journey down the length of the St. Johns, kayaking, boating, hiking its riverbanks, diving its springs, and exploring its underwater caves. He rediscovers the natural Florida and establishes his connection with a place once loved for its untamed beauty. Belleville involves scientists, environmentalists, fishermen, cave divers, and folk historians in his journey, soliciting their companionship and their expertise. River of Lakes weaves together the biological, cultural, anthropological, archaeological, and ecological aspects of the St. Johns, capturing the essence of its remarkable history and intrinsic value as a natural wonder.

Page count: 256 pp.
1 map
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $24.95

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Bill Belleville, an award-winning environmental journalist and filmmaker, is also a veteran diver. His books include River of Lakes and Deep Cuba (both Georgia). His articles, which have appeared in such publications as Sierra Magazine, Oxford American, Islands, and Salon, have been anthologized in six other collections. Belleville lives in Sanford, Florida.