St. George takes us on a diverting side trip in history, first rushing down the Ohio River on a flatboat with newlyweds Nicholas and Lydia Roosevelt, and then, two years later in 1811, retracing the route with them, all the way from Pittsburgh to Natchez, in the first steamship seen on the Ohio or the Mississippi. (They eventually reached New Orleans.) To highlight the daring of it all, St. George points to the general skepticism about taking a steamboat through these waters, and to the general amazement of riverbank onlookers along the way. For human interest there is the young wife's new son, born on a Louisville stopover, and for excitement a real humdinger of a day, with the boat rocked by an earthquake (the strongest ever recorded in North America, says the author's introduction), attacked by frightened Indians, and threatened by a cabin fire. There's one shadow on the enterprise--Roosevelt's refusal to pick up earthquake-stranded settlers--which St. George faces as squarely as need be. With Glen Rounds' pot-bellied chorus, a chipper piece of Americana.