Martin's Must Reads: 'Life on the Mississippi'
“I didn’t spend a year building a wooden flatboat and then sailing it two thousand miles down the Mississippi River simply because I was suffering from a Huck Finn complex, although that certainly played a part....I hungered to see that river country when I stumbled across an account of one of the first boatmen who braved the water route that America followed toward prosperity and greatness.”
I’m Dan Woods sharing Mark Martin’s last review for "Martin’s Must Reads." Mark passed away unexpectedly on October 21, 2022. The master storyteller Rinker Buck in Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure recounts his journey not only of adventure but discovery as he traveled the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
Life on the Mississippi is book that is part history, part adventure, and part discovery. Mr. Buck eloquently tells the story of the beginnings of river traffic—a beginning that dates to Revolutionary times and how America grew along with it. Mr. Buck also includes the horror of the Trail of Tears, and the mass movement of millions of black slaves from the north to the plantations of the south—both made possible by river traffic.
Life on the Mississippi also has its funny and poignant moments as Mr. Buck shares seeing the Ohio & Mississippi rivers and meeting some wonderful people along the way.
Some of his stories are particularly relevant to those living in Southeast Missouri: his time along the Ohio in Kentucky, navigating the confluence at Cairo, and his time in New Madrid, Caruthersville and Tiptonville.
The Mississippi River is such a big part of Cape Girardeau and Southeast Missouri. Rinker Buck in Life on the Mississippi reveals to the reader a river and the people along the river that most of us don’t know.