During the nineteenth century, more than three hundred boats met their end in the steamboat graveyard that was the Lower Missouri River, from Omaha to its mouth. Although derided as little more than an "orderly pile of kindling," steamboats were, in fact, technological marvels superbly adapted to the river's conditions. Their light superstructure and long, wide, flat hulls powered by high-pressure engines drew so little water that they could cruise on "a heavy dew" even when fully loaded. But these same characteristics made them susceptible to fires, explosions and snags--tree trunks ripped from the banks, hiding under the water's surface. Authors Vicki and James Erwin detail the perils that steamboats, their passengers and crews faced on every voyage.
About the Authors
Vicki Berger Erwin has written twenty-nine books in varied genres: picture books, middle-grade mysteries and novels, local histories and true crime. Her husband, James W. Erwin, has written only four previous books, three on the Civil War in Missouri and a history of St. Charles, Missouri. They owned a bookstore in St. Charles for eight years before they retired. Vicki and Jim met in the Ellis Library at the University of Missouri-Columbia; they checked each other out, and the rest is history. They live in Kirkwood, Missouri. This is their first book together.
Published by The History Press, 2020. Paperback, 160 pages.