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The Old West; The Rivermen Leather Bound – 1975

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Leather Bound, 1975
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Product Details

  • Leather Bound
  • Publisher: Time - Life Books; 1St Edition edition (1975)
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,423,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 8, 2010
The Time-Life series on "The Old West" was well done in its time. The volumes that I got had a nice leather cover, slick pages, and many illustrations and photos. An attractive package with good material inside.

This volume focuses on "The Rivermen" of the Missouri River and its tributaries. As the author puts it (Page 7): "For generations of explorers and exploiters, the Missouri was the key to the West." And how to traverse the Missouri? A variety of vessels are featured on page 20--from dugout canoe to keelboat to side wheeler to stern wheeler. Of course, other rivers were important, too, such as the Red, the Des Moines, and the Colorado. But the mightiest of the rivers allowing travel to the West was the Big Muddy, the Missouri River. On page 21 is a map of the "boatable passages" through the wilderness.

Pages 36 and following show the progression of the landscape along the Missouri and provide an element that gives the reader a sense of this mighty river.

The use of the Missouri began when trapping was a major "industry" in the west, with the river providing a means of getting to fur territory and moving the pelts to market. Then, the story of Mike Fink (who spelled his name Miche Phinck), who was quite a character, and whose death seems unhappily appropriate and fitting. The third chapter examines the steamboats as they became the dominant form of transportation along the rivers. On pages 96-99 is a nice schematic diagram of a stern-wheeler. The Missouri, though, could be a rough customer, and one of the nice features of this book is a discussion of the dangers of navigating this river (including some pictures of wrecks).

What of the people who commanded and steered these vessels?
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