Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure

S. & S. Audio. Aug. 2022. 15:21 hrs. ISBN 9781797141374. $24.99. HIST
The 2016 flatboat voyage down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, aboard the Patience, and journalist Buck’s (The Oregon Trail) hunger for researching and sharing American history pilot this narrative. The extensively detailed text is more of a scenic cruise through yesteryear than a modern travelogue, as each chapter provides cited historical anecdotes coinciding with and complementing his nautical location. Listeners learn the history of the flatboat era at the onset of the trip, the rise and fall of the coal industry when traveling through the Ohio valley region, and as the rivers merge, the significance of U.S. exporting that the Ohio-Mississippi River confluence at Cairo, IL, holds. The chapters are so steeped in historical miscellany, however, that high-seas adventure lacks. Buck’s retelling of the journey primarily focuses on navigating around extensive barge lines and interacting with his itinerant crew and local folks from the riverfront towns. Prolific narrator Jason Culp (Walk in My Combat Boots) competently delivers.
VERDICT For libraries with healthy history collections and those who enjoy 19th-century U.S. history and the Ohio and Mississippi River regions.
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