Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: 100% Guaranteed. Mild bumping to cover corners and edges. Pages are clean and unmarked.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

When the Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder, and the New Madrid Earthquakes Hardcover – March 1, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$8.95 $2.88
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The shocks that devastated the Mississippi River town of New Madrid, Mo., and environs in the winter of 1812 were among the strongest earthquakes in America's history. But in human terms they were fairly inconsequential (about 100 people died in the lightly populated area), hence the resort to empire, intrigue and murder to flesh out this engaging if haphazard survey of the Mississippi valley frontier. Journalist and scriptwriter Feldman gives a lucid rundown of the geology and seismology of the quakes and skillfully deploys sparse firsthand memoirs of the disaster to describe the titanic upheavals of earth and water that terrified onlookers. But that leaves most of the book still to write, so he brings in other developments tenuously related to the earthquake and the region. These include the brutal Indian wars of the early 19th century, the maiden voyage of the Mississippi's first steamboat and the murder of a Kentucky slave by his degenerate owner, which came to light after one of the titular quakes demolished the chimney where the victim's remains were hidden; a set piece of the Battle of New Orleans is tacked on as a coda. The author's attempts to tie these happenings together are perfunctory at best, but it's a diverting patchwork of events, with colorful characters, that Feldman's well-paced storytelling turns into a vivid historical panorama. Agent, Alex Smithline. History Book Club Alternate Selection.(Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Through four historical figures, Feldman re-creates the frontier world of 1811-12, when the New Madrid earthquakes devastated the lower Ohio and mid-Mississippi valleys. One central character is New Madrid founder George Morgan. Others include Lilburne Lewis, a nephew of Thomas Jefferson, and Nicholas Roosevelt, whose steamboat, the first on the western rivers, was maltreated by the Mississippi when the quakes struck. Together, the schemes of these men stand for the white settlement that was opposed by the fourth main character in Feldman's drama: Tecumseh. In fateful ways, according to Feldman, the earthquakes affected their projects: the tremors destroyed Morgan's town; they collapsed Lewis' chimney, exposing the remains of a slave he murdered; and they signified, to Tecumseh's pan-Indian movement, the Great Spirit's disapproval of ceding land to whites. Synthesizing lives and times, Feldman composes a fluent, coherent narrative that culminates in the War of 1812. Feldman's fine history on the New Madrid events parallels a popular work on their geology, The Big One, by Charles Officer and Jake Page (2004). Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743242785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743242783
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon October 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews