Old Man River: The Mississippi River in North American History (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Schneider tackles a massive topic in this sweeping book that succeeds in taking in the entire Mississippi watershed, from the Appalachians to the Rockies. The span of time is necessarily epic, starting 500 million years ago, and ending with the 2013 budget for the Army Corps of Engineers. In amongst all this fascinating history are bits of illuminating travelogue from the author's own explorations of the modern day River and its tributaries. - Chris

— From Chris Wilcox


"Old Man River," Paul Schneider's exploration of America's great waterway taking the reader from the Mississippi River's origins to its polluted present and tracing its prehistory, geology, and cultural and literary histories is as vast as its subject.

The fascinating cast of characters includes the French and Spanish explorers de Soto, Marquette and Joliet, and the incomparable La Salle; George Washington fighting his first battle in an effort to secure the watershed; the birth of jazz and blues; and literary greats like Melville, Dickens, Trollope, and, of course, Mark Twain.

Pirates and riverbats, gamblers and slaves, hustlers and landscape painters, loggers and catfishers, tourists and missionaries: The Mississippi is a river of stories and myth. It's Paul Robeson sitting on a cotton bale, Daniel Boone floating on a flatboat, and Paul Bunyan cutting trees in the neighborhood of "Little House in the Big Woods."

Half-devastated product of American ingenuity, half-magnificent natural wonder, it is impossible to imagine America without the Mississippi.

About the Author

Paul Schneider is the acclaimed author of "Bonnie and Clyde"; "Brutal Journey"; "The Enduring Shore"; and "The Adirondacks," a "New York Times Book Review" Notable Book. He and his family live in West Tisbury, Massachusetts.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781250053107
ISBN-10: 1250053102
Publisher: Picador USA
Publication Date: October 28th, 2014
Pages: 416
Language: English

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