The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild
By Lee Sandlin
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307473578, 368pp.)
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
List Price: $15.95*
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A riveting narrative 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 19th century.
Beginning in the early 1800s and climaxing with the siege of Vicksburg in 1863, "Wicked River" brings to life a place where river pirates brushed elbows with future presidents and religious visionaries shared passage with thieves. 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. Masterfully told, "Wicked River" is an exuberant work of Americana that portrays a forgotten society on the edge of revolutionary change.