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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

Springtime on the Mississippi

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXUSS145. Buy these 5 items as a set for $78 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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Life on the Mississippi

Life on the Mississippi

by Mark Twain

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 388 PAGES

Twain returns to the days of his youth spent on the Mississippi in this classic. Full of historical information, anecdotes, character sketches and fond memories, it's at once a romantic history of a mighty river and an autobiographical account of Twain's early steamboat days. (USS05, $9.95)

Starving the South, How the North Won the Civil War

Starving the South, How the North Won the Civil War

by Andrew F. Smith

  • HISTORY
  • 2011
  • HARD COVER
  • 304 PAGES

Smith chronicles the role food -- and the relative lack thereof by the confederates -- in determining the outcome of the Civil War. (WAR158, $27.99)

Wicked River, The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild

Wicked River, The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild

by Lee Sandlin

  • HISTORY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

Organized around a rich gallery of gamblers, thieves, presidents and pirates, Sandlin's rollicking account of New Orleans and the Mississippi during the steamboat era draws on firsthand accounts from the period. (USS475, $15.95)

The Majesty of Natchez

The Majesty of Natchez

by Steven Brooke

  • HISTORY
  • 1999
  • HARD COVER
  • 96 PAGES

This lively introduction to Natchez's well-preserved antebellum architecture includes a useful map, anecdotal histories and a number of excellent color photographs. (USS133, $17.95)

Deep South, Mississippi Valley, Gulf of Mexico Map

Deep South, Mississippi Valley, Gulf of Mexico Map

by Hallwag

  • 2010
  • MAP

A map of the southern Mississippi Valley region, including Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. (USS47, $11.95)

 
Jackson, Natchez and Vicksburg Map

Jackson, Natchez and Vicksburg Map


by Riley Maps

  • 2004
  • MAP

A regional map of Mississippi at scale of 1:50,000, covering Jackson, Natchez and Vicksburg. (USS403, $4.95)

Eyewitness Guide New Orleans

Eyewitness Guide New Orleans


by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 240 PAGES

This thorough, gorgeously illustrated guidebook provides a terrific introduction to the city and its many highlights. (USS305, $20.00)

Frommer's New Orleans Day by Day

Frommer's New Orleans Day by Day


by Frommer's

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER

This compact guide, ideal for a shorter visit, features excellent suggestions for everything from food, hotels and nightlife to neighborhood walks and shopping. With a foldout map. (USS462, $13.95)

Africans in America, America's Journey through Slavery

Africans in America, America's Journey through Slavery


by Charles Johnson | Patricia Smith | WBGH Series Research Team

  • HISTORY
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 512 PAGES

A powerful collaborative effort that paints a vivid picture of the history of slavery in America and celebrates the brave Africans who managed to preserve their heritage as they endured so many hardships. (USS53, $38.95)

Coming Back, New Orleans Resurgent

Coming Back, New Orleans Resurgent


by Mario Tama

  • HISTORY
  • 2010
  • HARD COVER
  • 128 PAGES

Tama documents the city's struggle to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina in striking color photographs. With a forward by news anchor Anderson Cooper, who has devoted much time and energy to the Gulf Coast region. (USS496, $45.00)

Confederate Mobile


by Arthur W. Bergeron

  • HISTORY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 271 PAGES

Bergeron focuces on the Civil War in Mobile, Alabama, a strategic port and rail center. (WAR168, $19.95)

Lost Plantations of the South


by Marc R. Matrana

  • HISTORY
  • 2009
  • HARD COVER
  • 320 PAGES

Matrana weaves together photographs, diaries and letters to bring to life 60 great estates and the people who once called them home. (USS461, $40.00)

Rising Tide, The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

Rising Tide, The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America


by John M. Barry

  • HISTORY
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 524 PAGES

A sweeping history of the devastating Mississippi flood of 1927, delving deeply into the race relations, agriculture and politics of the time. (USS48, $18.00)

The Beleaguered City, The Vicksburg Campaign

The Beleaguered City, The Vicksburg Campaign


by Shelby Foote

  • HISTORY
  • 1995
  • HARD COVER
  • 347 PAGES

Shelby Foote, a noted Civil War scholar, tells the engrossing narrative of the taking of Vicksburg in 1863 by Ulysses S. Grant and his Union troops. It was one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War and distinguished Grant as a military genius. (USS51, $23.00)

The Civil War in the West


by Earl J. Hess

  • HISTORY
  • 2012
  • HARD COVER
  • 392 PAGES

,A history of victory and defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi. (WAR169, $40.00)

The Civil War, An Illustrated History

The Civil War, An Illustrated History


by Geoffrey C. Ward | Ken Burns

  • HISTORY
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 448 PAGES

An illustrated, comprehensive social history of the Civil War by the now-famous team of Ward and Burns. With 500 photographs and maps, extensive text and original essays by contributing experts. (USS27, $29.95)

The Fourth Battle of Winchester, Toward a New Civil War Paradigm

The Fourth Battle of Winchester, Toward a New Civil War Paradigm


by Richard M. McMurry

  • HISTORY
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

A reassessment of the Civil War using counterfactual events. (WAR65, $16.95)

The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation

The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation


by Stephen Ambrose | Douglas Brinkley

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2005
  • HARD COVER
  • 272 PAGES

This illustrated popular history -- and travelogue -- tells the story of the great river from the time of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. (USM110, $40.00)

The Night the War Was Lost

The Night the War Was Lost


by Charles L. Dufour

  • HISTORY
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 443 PAGES

Charles Dufour contends that with the fall of New Orleans in the spring of 1862, the South had lost the Civil War. In explaining the reasons for the seizure of New Orleans and its results, Dufour also explores a more personable aspect of the war: the people involved and their losses. (USS107, $25.00)

Two Great Rebel Armies, An Essay in Confederate Military History


by Richard M. McMurry

  • HISTORY
  • 1996
  • PAPER
  • 222 PAGES

A comparison of the Confederate armies of Northern Virginia and Tennessee. (WAR15, $24.00)

Delta Blues, The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music

Delta Blues, The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music


by Ted Gioia

  • MUSIC
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 449 PAGES

From the field hollers of 19th-century plantations to Muddy Waters and B.B. King, Delta Blues delves into the uneasy mix of race and money at the point where traditional music became commercial and bluesmen found new audiences of thousands. (USS460, $18.95)

It Came from Memphis

It Came from Memphis


by Robert Gordon

  • MUSIC
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

This journalistic classic explores the burgeoning musical life of Memphis in the days before Elvis. A thrilling, colorful read. (USS501, $22.95)

Around the Bend, A Mississippi River Adventure

Around the Bend, A Mississippi River Adventure


by C.C. Lockwood

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1998
  • HARD COVER
  • 169 PAGES

A photographic tour of the Mississippi River as seen through the lens of naturalist and wildlife photographer Lockwood. (USS45, $39.95)

Bayou, Farewell

Bayou, Farewell


by Mike Tidwell

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

Tidwell introduces us to the food and the language, the shrimp fisherman, the Houma Indians, and the rich cultural history that make Louisiana's Cajun Coast unlike any other place. (USS491, $16.00)

John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence

John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence


by Richard M. McMurray

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 239 PAGES

In this biography of the Kentucky-born confederate commander (1831-1879), McMurry spares no details of Hood's ultimate "complete and disastrous failure." Youngest of the full generals of the Confederacy, Hood famously led his men in a hopeless counter-offensive against Sherman's march on Atlanta. (USS287, $17.95)

Louisiana Rambles

Louisiana Rambles


by Ian McNulty

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 297 PAGES

The New Orleans journalist explores Cajun and Creole communities of south Louisiana in this engaging guide to the music, culture and pleasures of the region. (USS493, $22.00)

Old Glory, A Voyage Down the Mississippi

Old Glory, A Voyage Down the Mississippi


by Jonathan Raban

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 409 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

Raban tackles the "Mighty Mississippi" aboard a 16-foot motorboat in this entertaining portrait of contemporary life on the river, featuring places and people he encounters along the way from from Minnesota to Mississippi. (USS42, $18.00)

U.S. Grant, The Making of a General, 1861-1863


by Michael B. Ballard

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2005
  • HARD COVER
  • 177 PAGES

Ballard traces the evolution of Grant's strategic and tactical concepts from the outset of the Civil War to to overall commander. (WAR170, $26.95)

A Confederacy of Dunces

A Confederacy of Dunces


by John Kennedy Toole

  • LITERATURE
  • 1987
  • PAPER
  • 405 PAGES

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, drenched in New Orleans color and culture. Its sharp humor, combined with vivid local detail, makes it great reading for any visitor to New Orleans. (USS02, $15.00)

Delta Wedding

Delta Wedding


by Eudora Welty

  • LITERATURE
  • 1979
  • PAPER
  • 326 PAGES

An expertly written comedy about white southerners on the brink of marriage. (USS251, $14.00)

Shiloh

Shiloh


by Shelby Foote

  • LITERATURE
  • 1991
  • PAPER
  • 226 PAGES

Told through the perspectives of a diverse cast of soldiers, Foote's brilliant novel transports the reader to Pittsburgh Landing, Tennessee. (USS71, $15.95)

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty


by Eudora Welty

  • LITERATURE
  • 1982
  • PAPER
  • 622 PAGES

All the stories written by Welty, the pride of Jackson, Mississippi, in a single volume. (USS250, $16.00)

The Moviegoer

The Moviegoer


by Walker Percy

  • LITERATURE
  • 1961
  • PAPER
  • 241 PAGES

Walker Percy won the 1961 National Book Award for this novel, his masterpiece, which unfolds in New Orleans during a momentous Carnival week. It's a great book that we can recommend as much for its sheer readability as for its palpable sense of place. (USS249, $15.00)

The Quiet Game

The Quiet Game


by Greg Iles

  • LITERATURE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 576 PAGES

This murder mystery set in Natchez, Mississippi is the story of a former prosecutor who uncovers the multi-layered stories behind the unsolved murder of a black man in 1967. (USS141, $9.99)

Yonder Stands Your Orphan

Yonder Stands Your Orphan


by Barry Hannah

  • LITERATURE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 333 PAGES

A dazzling Gothic novel of the Deep South, bursting with eccentric, deeply confused characters, humor and pain. Set near Vicksburg, Mississippi. (USS232, $14.95)

The Control of Nature

The Control of Nature


by John McPhee

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 1989
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES

In the classic McPhee tradition, these sparkling essays explore our generally feeble attempts to combat all-powerful nature, including valiant efforts by Icelanders to control the flow of a volcano across the harbor at Heimaey in the Westman Islands. (NAT01, $16.00)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.