Reviews & Testimonials

“Manuel has a way of jolting his readers into the truth…He pulls at our wandering spirits through Robbie’s unrelenting sense of adventure and makes us want to go out and touch the desert, the canyons, the stars, the sky.”

Independent Book Review

“Anyone who has ever wanted to run a river, make new discoveries, or connect the dots between past and present experience will find Solitario: The Lonely One a powerful story.”

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Manuel has succeeded in producing another thought-provoking, thrilling, and inspiring tale of life on the river…The story is the perfect blend of adventure, interpersonal relationships, and excitement.”

Feathered Quill

“John Manuel’s The Lower Canyons has all the excitement of Deliverance with twice the heart.”

Kyle McCord, Magpies in the Valley of the Oleanders

“With humor and pathos, John Manuel captures a way of life fast fading from the American scene. This is a compelling and timeless story of the necessity of adapting to change.”

Anna Jean Mayhew, The Dry Grass of August

“As the Old South turns into the New, traditional ways of life are challenged and changed. In John Manuel’s timely novel, two generations of one family come to a parting of the ways, and controversial neighbors arrive. Vivid characters enrich this archetypal story and make for a rich, rewarding read.”

Lee Smith, Dimestore, A Writer’s Life

“The changes along Hope Valley Road in John Manuel’s novel mirror the cultural changes that are testing our nation. Some of his characters bend, some break. The ones still standing in the end persevere with strength, grace, and humility that we will all need to survive.”

Jay Erskine Leutze, Stand Up That Mountain

“When Durham author and environmental advocate John Manuel decided to write a book about canoeing, he had a choice to make: write something that would be sold in bait shops, or write literature. The result is The Canoeist, part nature guide, part memoir, a combination that works …”

The Independent Weekly, Durham

“What makes The Canoeist worthy is Manuel’s ability to put us in the boat with him, spectating from the stern.”

The News & Observer (Raleigh North Carolina)

“An honest take on a man’s path of self-discovery viewed through the lessons learned from a lifetime of running rivers.”

Paddler Magazine

“After just a few pages, I rediscovered the joy of a well-crafted essay. By the time I’d finished the chapter, I’d already decided I’d find room for it in the magazine.”

Ross Prather, editor Canoe & Kayak

“A riveting read. You will love this book, even if you don’t canoe.

Cliff Jacobson, author of Expedition Canoeing

“This book is a rarity: an excellent memoir by a fresh, new voice.”

Lee Smith, author of Last Girls

“Gorgeously well-written.”

Wilmington Morning Star

“A parable of conservation and community…a fast and absorbing ride.”

Lee Smith, author, The Last Girls