Paul Schneider’s book, Old Man River: The Mississippi River in American History is not only a book on the history of our nation, it’s a history of North America told from the perspective of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The Mississippi River is never the same – it is forever flowing, churning and shifting. But Old Man River, carved by glacial torrents, has seen great nations like Cahokia rise and fall and has seen great species like mammoths live and die.
But unlike many history texts, Schneider weaves modern personal stories of places on the Mississippi and its tributaries as he recounts the numerous tales of bravery, discovery, glory, and sorrow. He relates a paddling trip on the Middle Mississippi River with his son while recounting the adventures of the early French explores on the Upper Mississippi River like Marquette, Nicolet, and Joliet. And as he discusses the geologic history of the delta, he recounts the near miss experienced by a group of fisherman when the Deepwater Horizon exploded. Schneider has a real knack for making the history relevant and relatable.
Old Man River is a great read for all of us who live and work along the Mississippi River. Join us for the Book Club discussion on December 15 at 6 PM at the Moline Library, Bronze Room.