RMOTW Cover250Rock Me on the Water 

by Renny Russell, with foreword by David Brower
ISBN: 978-0976053910
See all illustrations from Rock Me on the Water 

Paperback $29.95
Cloth Cover $39.95
Slip-Cased Collector's Edition (signed) $75.00

Picking up where its predecessor, the best-selling On the Loose left off, this reflection revisits the physical and spiritual terrain that shaped two brothers' lives. Consumed by a passion to fully experience the western wilderness and to navigate untamed and unpredictable waterways, Terry and Renny Russell set out to travel down the Green River in Utah. Several miles into the journey, their raft doubles over. Terry perishes, and after washing up on the beach, Renny embarks upon what is to become a nearly four-decade-long odyssey to understand how he came to be the sole survivor and how to fully connect with his brother's spirit. Interweaving the past and present, this vibrantly illustrated meditation documents the metamorphosis of Renny's psyche, the natural environment that has sustained him, and ultimately his redemption.


"Renny Russell's Rock me on the Water is at its heart courageous. To return to the same power of nature that took his brother thirty years previous - to be with it, to confront it, to take solace in it, and to be inspired and healed by it - is remarkable in itself. His book is, as well, a testament to the evocative rhythms of the wilds. In this complicated dance, this profoundly personal journey, Renny Russell also gives us an amazingly spirited tour of one of the truly great landscapes of the American West and a keen understanding of its power to shape a life." - Robert Redford

"Finally, we have the gift of Renny Russell's raw, honest voice once again, after On the Loose shaped and influenced an entire generation. We return to the fluid landscape of the Green River, where Renny's brother, Terry Russell, drowned. This poignant memoir fills in the gaps, and opens our eyes to grief and love and the profound healing nature of wild country. We see how two brothers found their passion in the heart of the Colorado Plateau as our nation was at war in Vietnam. And we see how the brother who is left behind moves forward in time by honoring history, both personal and geologic, not as a distraction but as a handhold to the continuity of life. Renny Russell has written his way back home. His explorations on the page become an open door to the beauty of one wild heart." - Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place and Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert

"Sand spills from these pages as they turn, letting loose tears and droplets of a desert river. The paper is stained with death, illuminated with redemption. Foremost, this is a map of landscape. With clear and beautiful writing, Russell makes sure there is no separation between the human heart and this fathomless territory. His journey is urgent and timeless, his story raw with emotion. He has done what few people can, truly describing the land in its fullness." - Craig Childs, author of The Secret Knowledge of Water and The Soul of Nowhere

"Most people would not revisit the terrain of heartbreak. The river, however, takes Renny Russell there with the passion of a survivor's revelation. He returns, forty years after On the Loose "unloosed" us into wild lands and young hearts. We need this book. It is a gift from Russell to his brother, to himself and to us." - Ellen Meloy, author of The Anthropology of Turquoise

"Driving up the eastern front of the Rockies in springtime, I saw a snow goose in a field of stubble. It was far from water. It had a shattered wing. It was, nevertheless, walking due north. It was probably not far 'til the jaws of a coyote. But I could feel that bird's yearning. I could picture the tundra in its mind. And the sight of it, migrating that way, would not have been more poignant had it been a broken-winged angel, dragging along a busted harp. Renny Russell's tale of loss and rivers reminds me of that snow goose." - David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K and My Story as Told by Water

"In the '60s Renny Russell and his brother, Terry, co-authored On the Loose, a paean to wild places that became one of the touchstones of the environmental movement. Four decades later, Renny has written a raw, soul-searching, searingly heartfelt companion volume, Rock Me on the Water. A bittersweet meditation on family and loss and the myriad ways in which unspoiled country can shape a life, this book will resonate with wrenching power for anyone touched by On the Loose - or for that matter, anyone who's ever gazed with wonder at the wide-open spaces of the American West." - Jon Krakauer, author of Into the Wild, Into Thin Air and Under the Banner of Heaven

"On the Loose and Rock Me on the Water belong together, two halves of two lives finally joined together on the river of their separation. On the Loose was one of the seminal books of the '60s, and this, its companion, written years later, is a beautifully written follow-up in its perspective and sadness and triumph." - Ann Zwinger, author of Run, River, Run

"Rock Me on the Water is not so much a book as an intimate spiritual and political journey. Part memoir, part nature writing, part philosophy, and part political polemic, Rock Me on the Water transcends each of these categories to become a trek through sorrow, pain, beauty, joy and redemption." - Derrick Jensen, author of A Language Older than Words, and Welcome to the Machine: Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control

"Rock Me on the Water is a courageous narrative that carries considerable emotional impact, intellectual depth and realism. From the put-in to take-out on Renny's Green River sojourn, his musings link to On the Loose and bring it into focus as what it was, an idealistic, naive and impassioned paean to man's love for nature, a value that is alarmingly short supply today. Renny has characterized a lifestyle and philosophy that resonates with a growing number of his peers. He has a lot of sympathy among a broad readership." - Paul Anderson