All in-person events have been cancelled. But we have a Zoom account which allows us to give virtual presentations about steamboat disasters or other topics you can find elsewhere on this site. We can make presentations for 3-100 persons for nearly any length you want. It is easy to use and can be viewed from your computer, mobile phone or tablet. All you need is access to the Internet. If you are interested, please contact me through this site or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vicki and I are working on our next book, which is nearly complete. It is a sort of bicentennial true crime book about 200 years of notorious crimes in the Show-Me State. We cover famous crimes from the Benton-Lucas duel on Bloody Island across from St. Louis to the Missouri Miracle of Shawn Hornbeck’s kidnapping and recovery. You will find that the classic Western gunfight you saw in the movies and television for years originated on the square in Springfield, Missouri. We cover the trials (there were three) of the alleged murderer of Colonel Thomas Swope, the founder of Kansas City’s Swope Park. And there are the fascinating true stories behind the well-known songs “Stagger Lee” and “Frankie and Johnny,” both of which grew out of killings within a few blocks and a few years of each other. Look for this book from History Press in 2021.
Below is a brief description of the contents of Steamboat Disasters of the Lower Missouri River :
During the nineteenth century, more than 300 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). And the river held other dangers – disease, crime and (in time of war) guerrillas.
This is the story of the perils steamboats, their passengers and crews faced on every voyage.
Available now from www.arcadiapublishing.com and fine bookstores everywhere.
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