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The Great River
     

The Great River

by Charles Dee Sharp
 

The Mississippi River is as much an American symbol as it is a river, carrying the hopes and despair of many in its timeless currents. It thus serves as an apt backdrop for the midlife crisis of Harry McNeil, a man who leaves the hard-hitting world of television journalism for the life of a riverboat pilot in The Great River.

A fascinating new novel from

Overview

The Mississippi River is as much an American symbol as it is a river, carrying the hopes and despair of many in its timeless currents. It thus serves as an apt backdrop for the midlife crisis of Harry McNeil, a man who leaves the hard-hitting world of television journalism for the life of a riverboat pilot in The Great River.

A fascinating new novel from Charles Dee Sharp, author of the highly praised The Mississippi River in 1953, The Great River unfolds as a journey of a man looking for the purpose and freedom that have eluded him so far in life. As the riverboat Argus makes its way from the river’s northern reaches in Minneapolis to the steamy swamps of New Orleans, MacNeil crosses paths with an unforgettable cast of characters, including the larger-than-life figure of Captain Facinato and a crew of refugees from shore-bound society. During their sixteen-day voyage through the churning, muddy waters, the intrigue mounts as they encounter oil executive John Fissinger and his wife Sally, who was once MacNeil’s lover. Suicide, domestic terrorism, revenge, and the exacting toll of humanity’s constant struggle with nature intertwine in this compelling chronicle as it presents a brutally honest portrait of a man’s moral dilemmas and the stark choices he is forced to make.

A powerful weaving of lyrical prose and historical narrative, The Great River takes the Mississippi River as a potent imaginative force in the American landscape—one that has long fueled both the deepest desires and darkest inclinations of the travelers and writers who explore it. Sharp’s novel ultimately leads readers into thought-provoking reflections on the demands of our time and place in history.

Editorial Reviews

William Howarth

“In 1953, a young Charles Dee Sharp traveled twice down the Mississippi. . . . Half a century later, he revisits that remarkable terrain in a searing contemporary novel. Mark Twain would surely recognize his beloved Mississippi in Charles Sharp's ambitious tale: developers and charlatans still infest its shores, as skilled pilots still read its beautiful, treacherous waters like a book. The Great River is not only an eco-thriller as chilling as any headline, but also a modern elegy, sad and knowing, for the lost heart of America.” —William Howarth, Princeton University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781930066625
Publisher:
Columbia College Chicago Press
Publication date:
09/28/2008
Series:
Center for American Places - Center Books on American Places Series
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dee Sharp is associate professor emeritus of cinema at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He previously worked as an assignment editor for the Midwest bureau of CBS News and as a documentary filmmaker. He is also the author of The Wonder of Toys, 1920–1950 and The Mississippi River in 1953: A Photographic Journey from the Headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico.

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