Mr. Havighurst has undertaken to explore only one particular network of aterways in this volume, but it is one which has always held a tremendous fascination, from a multitude of colorful aspects, for the American people: the Mississippi. As he mentions in his acknowledgments, the literature of the Mississippi system is ""as extensive and various"" as the great river itself, and it is claiming more than a little honor for him to call his contribution to that literature very nearly equal to his debt. With a manner at one point poetic, another scholarly or businesslike, and yet another downright folksy--yet always tasteful--he has managed to comprehend such, if not all, of the history, myth, and commercial vicissitudes of the Father of Waters. His particular achievement consists in the unerring knack he has for conveying the wild, weird, or simply wonderful personalities of the men and women who made this river unique as well as incalculably important. Amply illustrated, this book is leisurely entertainment for just about everyone.