Old Man River by Paul Schneider
The Mississippi River in North American History

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A wild ride well worth taking, though readers may want to portage around some of the narrative rapids.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A fascinating account of how the Mississippi River shaped America

In Old Man River, Paul Schneider tells the story of the river at the center of America's rich history—the Mississippi. Some fifteen thousand years ago, the majestic river provided Paleolithic humans with the routes by which early man began to explore the continent's interior. Since then, the river has been the site of historical significance, from the arrival of Spanish and French explorers in the 16th century to the Civil War. George Washington fought his first battle near the river, and Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman both came to President Lincoln's attention after their spectacular victories on the lower Mississippi.

In the 19th century, home-grown folk heroes such as Daniel Boone and the half-alligator, half-horse, Mike Fink, were creatures of the river. Mark Twain and Herman Melville led their characters down its stream in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Confidence-Man. A conduit of real-life American prowess, the Mississippi is also a river of stories and myth.
Schneider traces the history of the Mississippi from its origins in the deep geologic past to the present. Though the busiest waterway on the planet today, the Mississippi remains a paradox—a devastated product of American ingenuity, and a magnificent natural wonder.

 

About Paul Schneider

See more books from this 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.
 
Published September 3, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.. 415 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Old Man River
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Jun 10 2013

A wild ride well worth taking, though readers may want to portage around some of the narrative rapids.

Read Full Review of Old Man River: The Mississipp... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jul 01 2013

The river stretches from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, and Schneider guides readers all the way from geological antiquity to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. With such an expert hand on the tiller, Old Man River is an astonishing journey.

Read Full Review of Old Man River: The Mississipp... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Jack Goodstein on Dec 08 2014

Old Man River may not be a comprehensive study of each and every period in the history of the river, but for the layman there’s information enough, and most importantly it’s presented with both intelligence and style.

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Reader Rating for Old Man River
72%

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