Life on the Mississippi. Pirates. River rats. Hustlers. Slaves. A new history looks at the American resonance of Old Man River.
Centuries, millennia, pass and the Mississippi River keeps on rolling. But it changes. And has changed a lot in this continent’s river-heavy history. From mastadons and mammoths on the riverbank, to giant burial mounds, to American riverboats and pirates, gamblers and slaves, hustlers and haulers of a river of grain.
Historian Paul Schneider has taken his study right onto river – kayak-level – where you can smell it, sweet and earthy. He’s traveled it in space and time.
This hour, On Point: we’re going deep on the mighty Mississippi.
- Tom Ashbrook
Paul Schneider, author of "Old Man River: The Mississippi River in North American History."
From Tom's Reading List
The Bend Bulletin: A lazy, historical steamboat ride down Twain’s Mississippi River -- "We head up to the engine room to meet the captain of the boat, John Sutton. He’s been working as a river pilot for 32 years. It’s a job he describes as “hours and hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror. 'You’ve got to respect the power of the Mississippi River,' he says."
Excerpt: 'Old Man River' by Paul Schneider
This program aired on September 9, 2013.