“Patrick Dobson is one of my favorite writers—his writing reminds me of my own travels and experiences—and Ferment is on its way to being one of my favorite books. It plumbs the depths and explores the heights of experience in a deeply personal way. It will leave you wanting to explore more deeply your own memories.”—Eddy Harris, author of Mississippi Solo and Native Stranger
“Patrick’s first trip to Germany—as a young man, depressed and alcoholic—is reconstructed here with full attention given to the emotions he experienced. Back in Germany in 2014 with his wife and son, Patrick renewed friendships and revisited the people and places that set him on the trajectory of eventually achieving emotional and mental stability and creative productivity. The fundamental theme of Ferment is expressed by Patrick thusly: ‘Alcoholism and mental illness led me in directions and to take risks I might not have taken if I’d been balanced and moderate.’ This hugely important message will give hope to readers who suffer from manic depressive illness and alcoholism or who have loved ones with these afflictions, and it provides tangible evidence of the feasibility of recovery. “—Dr. William Neaves, President Emeritus, Stowers Institute for Biomedical Research
“Unlike many books telling addiction stories, Ferment creates a metaphor that runs through the entire narrative, transforming this non-fiction account into one that reads like good fiction, the reader eager to begin and the storyteller too authentic to let go.”—Bill Bauer, poet and author of The Boy Who Ate Dandelions, Last Lambs, and Promises in the Dust
“As a hopeless drunk and manic depressive, Patrick Dobson didn’t have much chance to make it out of his twenties. But, as he understands more than three decades later, those afflictions led him to an impulsive exile in Germany’s wine country and to this, his third book. Dobson time travels as he revisits and recalls the places and the people who helped shape his life. He’s always walking—through towns and forests and vineyards. Reading his intimate and brutally frank memoir is like going along on a revelatory amble. Ultimately, it’s a story not only of survival but also of the power of family and friendship.—Steve Paul, author of Hemingway at Eighteen
Brian Burnes in the Kansas City Star calls Canoeing the Great Plains, “a travel memoir that duly describes the remarkable sights beheld but also makes room for an interior journey that includes lessons learned.” Read the review here.
Listen as a woman tells me at the start of my river trip that I’m doomed. The reading here is part of Wyoming Public Media’s Spoken Words.
“This is a work of strength and beauty, of care and courage. Patrick Dobson’s voyage down the length of the Missouri River is not simply one of self-discovery, but a journey that allows the reader to look inward as well. . . . We are fortunate to be able to share in his odyssey of exuberance and discovery.”—Alan Boye, author of Just Walking the Hills of Vermont and Sustainable Compromises
“Lighting out for the territories—as Mark Twain would have put it—Patrick Dobson discovers his country, his neighbors, himself. Peter Jenkins (A Walk Across America) meets Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). Seldom Seen inspires the adventurer in me—as it should all of us—to go out and do something similar.”—Eddy Harris, author of Mississippi Solo: A River Quest, Native Stranger: A Black American’s Journey into the Heart of Africa, South of Haunted Dreams, and Still Life in Harlem
“With open eyes and open heart, Patrick Dobson shows us the heart of the nation.”—David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and syndicated columnist with Universal Press
“This intimate search for self-discovery and renewal (in Seldom Seen) is so well told, you’ll smell the dew on the morning grass, and you’ll know you’ve found something truly delicious. I’ve put in more than 100,000 miles, some on these very highways. Dobson paints a clearer portrait with words than I ever captured with cameras. Bravo!” —Michael Murphy, Kansas City Public Television (KCPT Channel 19) producer and host of Rare Visions and Roadside Visions
“This isn’t a book about the author’s personal musings on the road, but rather a chronicle of the folks that, despite a lack of virtually everything except endless space, have decided to live on the prairie. More surprisingly, these people-the former carnival worker in Wyoming, the evangelicals in Kansas, the would-be rock star in Nebraska-were eager to let Dobson into their lives. The prairie, lovingly described by the author, becomes the fabric that holds these people together. Their stories, some as violent and powerful as a Midwestern thunderstorm, others as calm as a breeze, create a captivating narrative, and Dobson finds the common humanity that keeps people struggling against their circumstances and striving to succeed, in whatever form that may take. Restrained storytelling and a string of charming, relatable characters make the prairie seem like much more than a flyover region.”—Kirkus Reviews