The River is the Mississippi, enigmatic and treacherous. The Man is the American who conquered the West--the prototype of the restless, innocent and greedy nineteenth century dreamers who built the railroads and steamboats, who opened the Santa Fe Trail and despoiled the forests, who fought the Indians and each other. Here is the American Myth brought to life though men and women who matched the robust, ruthless age in which they lived. Caleb McSwasey dreamed of creating an empire in the wilderness. He ruled men but could not rule the woman of his choice. By guile and ruthlessness, Jim Buckmaster, the river hog carved a vast fortune out of virgin timber. He owned the river but not his conscience. Rolfe Torkelsen, heir to the river's treasure, finally balked at the price he would have to pay. A new era had begun. But the dark magic of one woman (there are many in this book) proved more powerful than any river hog or lumber baron. Esperanza von Zumwalt, in whom the blood of three races was fused in crucible, dominated two strong men, one who loved her and one who hated her. These are a few of the tall Americans in Thomas W. Duncan's prodigious novel of adventure and commerce, of love, war, peace and the making of a nation. Sweeping from Penobscot to Santa Fe, from the Wisconsin woods to Shiloh, Big River, Big Man is a novel with its roots in historical destiny. To read it is to capture the spirit and substance of an age -- Book jacket.