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"The story of these crewmen and their hopeless fight to bring the Royal Prince into port pushing her cargo ahead of her is so compelling that every sensitive reader will resent each drop of rain that swells the waters moving down against them."
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"A river, a very big and powerful river, is the only natural force that can wholly determine the course of human peregrination."... t.s.eliot
Duke Snyder found his first job on "a dirty old cinder-throwing stern-wheeler" when he was sixteen years old with just sixty-five cents left in his pocket and nothing else to do. Ten years later he's still on the river aboard an old diesel towboat hauling eight barges of coal toward the Chain of Rocks above St. Louis with all hands on deck facing the ominous rise of high water.
As the waters of the Mississippi climb to alarming levels, Bissell takes us aboard the steamboat with captains, Ironhat and Casey, engineer, Greasecup, and crew members, the Kid, Arkansaw, ole Swede, One Eye, and Zero. Embraced by rain and fog and night is as black as " the inside of a Holstein heifer," we learn about the crew and their losses and loves, flaws and foibles, and are caught up in the flood of their lives much like the swell of the raging river.
Bissell loved river life and spent much of his time on a towboat on the Mississippi. An expert at finding the details that make a story exceptional, Bissell reminds us how rich and vibrant and dynamic life can be if we just open our eyes and ears and noses and take notice. They say to write about what you know. Don't miss this one.