Though Fulton, Livingston and Watts are the names associated with the invention of the steamboat, Nicholas Roosevelt, of the famous Roosevelt clan, and a lesser known figure, provided the original concept of navigation. ""Wheels over the sides"", was Roosevelt's theory, an ideal first realized on the Clermont and later on Roosevelt's own craft, the New Orleans, the first steamboat to travel the length of the Mississippi. This is the story of Roosevelt's achievements and disappointments, well written and documented by Sterling North. It focuses on the highlights of the momentous voyage from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico. Waterfalls, cataracts, rapids, Indians, and fire filled a path of challenging obstacles. In 1811, Roosevelt proved that the tortuous waterways of the Mississippi could be traversed by a steamboat. The writing is smooth, and unburdened with petty detail, yet the sources are accurate and dependable. A good job of research and editing.