Wicked River: The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild

Wicked River The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild 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 th century Beg

  • Title: Wicked River: The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild
  • Author: Lee Sandlin
  • ISBN: 9780307473578
  • Page: 278
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 anA 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.

    One thought on “Wicked River: The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild”

    1. A fascinating, if often hyperbolic and disjointed, look at the Mississippi River and especially the communities surrounding it, not to mention the customs and eccentric characters that thrived on the river frontier. It might also be called, the Book of Lists.I was surprised by the importance of prostitution to communities in the 19th century frontier society. Their importance was so crucial as to be almost "structural." Women were a rarity, often outnumbered by men 20-1, and it was common for so [...]

    2. A semi-chronological narrative of life along the Mississippi River, primarily before the Civil War, when the river valley was still part of the frontier. It was a dangerous place, both from nature (storms, earthquakes, the river itself) and from other humans (lots of drunkenness and piracy). Includes the origin of the term "lynching", which didn't always mean hanging. Found myself unreasonably amused by the fact that the voyageurs (boatmen, somewhat expendable) were known for their red shirts. T [...]

    3. Wicked River: the Mississippi When it Last Ran Wild beautifully recreates a lost time and place, that of the Mississippi River from the beginning of the 19th century until past that century's midpoint and just after the Civil War. Early on Mr. Sandlin observes that his early conception of the Mississippi river — shaped largely on the template of Mark Twain's nostalgia — so diverged from its current reality that he found it difficult to recognize. I had a similarly underwhelming experience wi [...]

    4. I thought I knew all there was to know about the Mighty Mississippi River, especially after reading over 400 pages of the well researched Rising Tide. But this was a wonderful telling of life on the Mississippi River in the 1800s. I particularly liked hearing the details of the siege of Vicksburg and the details of the wreck of the Sultana. Horrible experiences, but part of our history nevertheless. Also, for anyone interested in more about the Sultana, there is a wonderful small museum at Mario [...]

    5. Tales of life along the Mississippi between 1800 and the Civil War. Each chapter retells one event (the great New Madrid earthquake, the siege of Vicksburg) or the life of one person. This is a fascinating look at an alien world, where people would boat past the body of a red-shirted voyageur bobbing in the current and pay no more attention than we pay to a dead raccoon on the side of the road -- where boats would pull up to the shore at nightfall and become a floating village with dance halls a [...]

    6. If you want to learn more about the history of life on the Mississippi, this is a great book. In fact, even if you never thought you wanted to learn about this topic, it's a good introduction to that stretch of water that so much influenced the development of the U.S. Lee Sandlin is an eloquent writer, sometimes downright poetic in a way that's not at all heavy-handed, and ranges over a wide variety of topics. In the end, I was left a little wistful about the taming of this wild and wicked river [...]

    7. Possibly the most fascinating -- even gripping -- history book I've ever read, easily as difficult to put down as a good piece of fiction. Definitely made me think. An excellent piece of Americana; cannot recommend it enough.

    8. A short history of the Mississippi River of the 19th century. Disasters - natural and man made - schemes, homesteading, gambling, river boating, art and artistry, flimflam men and more. It is all here.As a people, we have forgotten the importance of river travel when the country was young, before pavement. The wisdom then was to get to the river or get to a place with access to the river because that was where life and prosperity was at, that was where you could find it all. As you read, you und [...]

    9. My second audiobook experience. Here's what I've learned about me and audiobooks: I can't keep my attention on fiction when I'm listening, but I can when it's nonfiction. "Wicked River" is a good, engaging history. It blends the two things I want in history: an overarching thread that moves the history forward (after all, time moves that way) and a willingness to go down alleys to pursue a good story on its own terms (after all, history is really just a collection of stories).

    10. Wicked River is one of the most entertaining depictions of life on the MS river in the 19th century. Sandlin showcases how raw and chaotic it was to wander the MS river valley during that time. A short, quick read for anyone interested in that era and it's appeal.

    11. A book I share over and over. I even reread the introduction before beginning the body of the book, it was so perfect. History and storytelling at its best.

    12. Wicked River was a pleasant surprise. After having read the book Old Man River (a decidedly more historical take on the river), and meandered my way through Twain's Mississippi, Sandlin's ode to the river past was a welcome addition to my collection. It reads like a good campfire story, that is to say, while Wicked River covers the history of the new frontier up to the civil war (60 plus years), it's format lends itself more to the legend and lore of the river itself. That is not to say the book [...]

    13. Thought this did a great job of covering the history of the river during pre-civil war times. Kept the narrative flowing in a very readable way. My ancestors came up the river from New Orleans to St. Louis immediately after the war so it gave me a good idea of what they may have experienced.

    14. An unexpectedly rich historical glimpse of human life along the Mississippi River, and the nature of the river itself. The author, Lee Sandlin, sets out to capture the nature of the river before any dam or diversion was embedded along its course, or bridge built across it. Interwoven with the river stories is an equally fascinating glimpse of human society on the edge of a frontier, with many civilizing norms left behind. He quickly establishes that the river was once far more wild and treachero [...]

    15. This book caught my eye, and I have to say it lived up to it. It is not a typical "history" which a few pages in feels a bit "off", but by the end of the book, you have probably decided you wouldn't want it any other way.It covers about 60 years where life on the Mississippi River was shall we say 'colorful' and Sandlin makes a compelling argument that it was wilder than the Wild West.There's pirates of the most terrifying kind in The Crow's Nest. There are the worst possible disasters (and ones [...]

    16. I've never seen the Mississippi River. Living in the Western United States, if I didn't travel, you could argue that I'd never see a river worthy of the title. The Mississippi has been a part of so much of this country's history that it runs like a current through time. Author Lee Sandlin takes the past, wild life of the Mississippi River and brings it forward to the 21st Century in Wicked River: The Mississippi When it Last Ran Wild. Sandlin uses the writings of Mark Twain as a jumping-off poin [...]

    17. Old Man River. The Father of Waters. The Big Muddy. These are all names that are used for the great river of North America: The Mississippi. The Mississippi River has been an important part of the history, literature, commerce, and myth of the United States for generations. At the end of the War of Independence it became the western boundary of the United States. The navigation of the river was vital to the settlers who moved west of the Allegheny Mountains after the war. After the Louisiana Pur [...]

    18. Sandlin is not a bad storyteller, even if he does lean a little too much on some sources to the point that you begin to lose the feeling that you're listening to him tell a story but instead you're reading a story he's reading to you from someone else.I call him a storyteller because that's the tone he sets; this book isn't a scholarly, comprehensive history of the river, and it doesn't try to be. Instead, it is a three-mile diorama of its own, filled with sketches illustrating certain scenes an [...]

    19. Lee Sandlin's first book is a history of the Euro-American settlement of the Mississippi valley from about 1800 through the Civil War. Sandlin seems to have picked this period for a couple of reasons, first because the river had not been extensively engineered udring this period and because the valley was roughly the frontier of settlement.Sandlin does not write about a single topic in Wicked River but about a variety of social and environmental topics. In the first decade or so discussed, trave [...]

    20. The Mississippi River has fascinated people since it was first "discovered." Anyone who had ever seen it or traveled on it had a tale, and wanted to tell it. Lee Sandlin writes that lots of books and articles were written about life on the old Mississippi back when it was wild. Most of them have been forgotten today. But Sandlin went back in the archives and read everything. Then he reported back to us just the most interesting stories. There is some order to this book, but mostly it is just tha [...]

    21. This is my first NOOK BOOK!!!! I have been wanting to read this book all Fall but could not get my hands on it until I was able to download it onto my new NOOK. How easy was that? And how dangerous it can be to have that book you've been wanting to read drop in on your screen in about 30 seconds. Anyway, this is a history of what the Mississippi River and what was called the River Valley that this waterway carved out of the middle of the country. Time is centered mainly around the 1810s to the 1 [...]

    22. Good, fast, and palette-cleansing after a summer of post-apocalyptic fiction.Sandlin's a phenomenal writer whose work I haven't read before, but I'll definitely check out his other books. This, a sort-of-biography of the Mississippi River, is a mostly-connected series of vignette histories that function well together, though each individual chapter usually has its own self-contained narrative.Sandlin starts by taking apart the popular conception of the river as a peer of Mark Twain's - by the ti [...]

    23. This may be one of the most important books I've read in a long time, especially in the history genre. Author Lee Sandlin expertly crafted an intriguing work about the "mighty Mississippi" to read like a gripping novel about its physical traits and the people who populated its crest and shores, who conducted business -- both legitimate and nefarious -- during the wild period before it was "tamed" by modern controls. Those people included, among the planters, warehousemen and farmers dispersed al [...]

    24. The Mississippi holds a place in the American mythos that no other river can claim - no other river has been written about, talked about, mythologised and anthropomorphised in the same way. From the 'Old Man River' of Mark Twain, from Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, to the visions of Abraham Lincoln on his wooden raft and the gracious steamboats plying their way up and downstream, laden with Southern belles and gamblers and rough-housing pilots, there is something about the Mississippi that has [...]

    25. 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 suspen [...]

    26. Fascinating, brilliant and anecdotally rich. The river that Mark Twain immortalized in Tom Sawyer,Huckleberry Finn and his memoirs about being a river boat pilot is not the Mississippi that had been tamed and taught to run through between canals and levees, but the river that existed before the mid nineteenth century. That is the Wicked River that once ran wild in all its glory and destruction, and the river that Lee Sandlin writes about. There were once hundreds of books by travelers and denize [...]

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