A biography of an American engineer and inventor, whose knowledge of the Mississippi and its river boats brought him international fame. James Buchanan Eads, whose record- in the 19th century- is one of a diving bell for salvaging, ironclad gunboats for the Civil War, the twelve year work of building a bridge over the Mississippi at St. Louis, and the construction of jetties at the mouth of the river to give New Orleans access to the sea. This is his career, in its technical as well as its personal and social aspects, from his early devotion to ships and his river, to his first marriage, and his growing fame as the man who understood everything about the Mississippi. It was as an expert in river control that he was called all over the world, that he opposed the Panama Canal, favoring instead a railway for ships, that he fought for his beliefs and saw them all successful save the Panama Canal project. A full recording of the incidents in his life, this has the energy of devotion, if not the wide appeal of a less specialized subject.