Searching for a way to enrich the French crown and save souls for the Church, in 1673 explorer Louis Jolliet and Jesuit priest Jacques Marquette paddled down the great "father of waters" from its origin, exploring the river natives called "Mesippi." Sometime that summer the Frenchmen disembarked from their canoes to become the first Europeans to set foot on Missouri soil. Nature had placed two great rivers in the center of the American continent. Successive generations of Native Americans, French, English, Spanish and Americans would make the land around the rivers the center of a global, national, and regional struggle for influence. The state was born on the field of the 19th century's imperial competition for resources. It quickly assumed a central role in the drama of the nation's "manifest destiny" and weathered hatred and hostility from without and within during the Civil War. Even today, Missouri draws strength from its diversity and the differences of its geography, people and ideas: big city and small town, prairie and mountain, bankers and farmers, technocrats and conservationists, Jeffersonian ideals and machine politics.
In Missouri: Crossroads of the Nation the authors chronicle, with lively, stirring prose, the home state of Twain and Truman, ragtime and renegades, Dred Scott and the Pendergast machine. More than 400 vintage photographs, maps, and illustrations illuminate the text, highlighted by a sparkling array of color photographs that add unsurpassed beauty to this breathtaking collection. A special chapter, "Chronicles of Leadership," recounts the histories of businesses and organizations that have contributed to Missouri's great historical importance. An illustrated chronology of significant events enhances the text and puts it all in perspective. Missouri: Crossroads of the Nation will inform and fascinate long-time residents and newcomers alike. This handsome and thought-provoking volume will be a valued addition to any library for years to come.
Published by American Historical Press, 2003. Hardback, 260 pages.