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Wicked river : the Mississippi when it last ran wild

Author: Lee Sandlin
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, ©2010.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
From award-winning journalist Lee Sandlin comes a riveting look at one of the most colorful, dangerous, and peculiar places in America's historical landscape: the strange, wonderful, and mysterious Mississippi River of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the early 1800s and climaxing with the siege of Vicksburg in 1863, Wicked River takes us back to a time before the Mississippi was dredged into a shipping channel,
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Genre/Form: Biography
History
Nonfiction
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Lee Sandlin
ISBN: 9780307378514 0307378519 9781611296419 1611296412
OCLC Number: 669825802
Description: xxviii, 270 pages : map ; 25 cm
Contents: Prologue --
Part 1. The river rising. Gone on the river ; Old Devil River ; The comet's tail ; Like bubbles on a sea --
Part 2. "Do you live on the river?" The desire of an ignorant Westerner ; Bloody island ; The roar of Niagara ; The cosmopolitan tide ; A pile of shavings ; The coasts of dark destruction --
Part 3. The course of empire. The mound builders ; A young man of splendid abilities ; The oracles --
Part 4. Behemoth. The sky parlor ; The alligator --
Part 5. The good and the thoughtless. The last of the floating life --
Epilogue.
Responsibility: Lee Sandlin.

Abstract:

From award-winning journalist Lee Sandlin comes a riveting look at one of the most colorful, dangerous, and peculiar places in America's historical landscape: the strange, wonderful, and mysterious Mississippi River of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the early 1800s and climaxing with the siege of Vicksburg in 1863, Wicked River takes us back to a time before the Mississippi was dredged into a shipping channel, and before Mark Twain romanticized it into myth. Drawing on an array of suspenseful and bizarre firsthand accounts, Sandlin brings to life a place where river pirates brushed elbows with future presidents and religious visionaries shared passage with thieves -- a world unto itself where, every night, near the levees of the big river towns, hundreds of boats gathered to form dusk-to-dawn cities dedicated to music, drinking, and gambling. Here is a minute-by-minute account of Natchez being flattened by a tornado; the St. Louis harbor being crushed by a massive ice floe; hidden, nefarious celebrations of Mardi Gras; and the sinking of the Sultana, the worst naval disaster in American history. Here, too, is the Mississippi itself: gorgeous, perilous, and unpredictable, lifeblood to the communities that rose and fell along its banks. An exuberant work of Americana -- at once history, culture, and geography -- Wicked River is a grand epic that portrays a forgotten society on the edge of revolutionary change. - Jacket flap.

A chronicle of the Mississippi River in the first half of the nineteenth century--before it was tamed by commerce and technology--draws on first-hand accounts to describe life along the river, natural and man-made disasters, acts of piracy, and cultural celebrations.

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