Suggested Reading List
Treasure in a Cornfield: The Discovery & Excavation of the Steamboat Arabia
Author: Greg Hawley
Description: One of our instructors is the discoverer of this sunken steamboat treasure! This book is an interesting preview of our visit with David Hawley and this fascinating exhibit. This is an intriguing portrayal of the Hawley family's treasure-seeking quest to find, excavate and restore the Steamboat Arabia. Coupled with our Road Scholar visit to the Arabia Museum in Kansas City, this book brings to life not only the family’s quest to uncover history, but an understanding of those onboard the Arabia, as well as her freight of goods.
Big Muddy Blues: True Tales and Twisted Politics Along Lewis and Clark's Missouri River
Author: Bill Lambrecht
Description: A chronicle of the Missouri River and its unfolding battle over its future, two hundred years after Lewis and Clark. Journalist Bill Lambrecht has undertaken his own voyage to discover the fate of the big river that flows through the heart of America. Filled with stories of memorable people, endangered species, betrayed Indian tribes and high stakes political intrigue, the book demonstrates how conservation, farm, barge, development and government interests are pitted against one another.
The Missouri River (Lewis & Clark)
Author: John Hamilton
Description: Joins the Lewis and Clark Expedition from the time it leaves camp near St. Louis in the spring of 1804 to travel up the Missouri River until its members settle for the winter near present-day Bismarck, South Dakota. Includes highlights and directions to historical points of interest.
Amelia Earhart: The Thrill of It
Author: Susan Wels
Description: She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and the first person to fly solo across the Pacific. But Amelia Earhart was also a photographer, poet, hospital worker, truck hauler, fashion designer, social worker, and student of chemistry, physics, and medicine—before she vanished mysteriously in her airplane over the Pacific Ocean in July 1937. This illustrated biography covers all facets of the icon’s life, featuring photographs, artifacts, letters, documents, and maps, vividly capturing the essence of Amelia Earhart and her unorthodox, unflinching zeal for living life. We will visit Amelia Earhart's Atchison, KS home during our program.
Author: David McCullough
Description: This warm biography of Harry Truman is both an historical evaluation of his presidency and a paean to the man's rock-solid American values. Truman was a compromise candidate for vice president, almost an accidental president after Roosevelt's death 12 weeks into his fourth term. Truman's stunning come-from-behind victory in the 1948 election showed how his personal qualities of integrity and straightforwardness were appreciated by ordinary Americans, perhaps, as McCullough notes, because he was one himself. His presidency was dominated by enormously controversial issues: he dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, established anti-Communism as the bedrock of American foreign policy, and sent U.S. troops into the Korean War. In this winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize, McCullough argues that history has validated most of Truman's war-time and Cold War decisions (over 1,000 pages). We will visit the Truman Presidential Library during our program.
Fragile Giants: A Natural History of the Loess Hills
Author: Cornelia F. Mutel
Description: The unique land formation of windblown silt called “loess” (pronounced "luss") extends nearly 200 miles in a narrow band adjacent to the Missouri River Valley. Although deposits of loess are found across the world, only two places in the world have such deep solid loess layers- the Yellow River Valley of China and the Loess Hills of western Iowa. The Loess Hills Scenic Byway traverses internationally distinctive landforms as it follows the Missouri River Valley in Western Iowa. Strong windstorms deposited layers of loess several hundred feet thick on both sides of the Missouri River Valley, molding the soft soil into sheer ridges and rippled hills. We will travel along the Loess Hills during our program.
Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War
Author: T.J. Stiles
Description: Probably no American outlaw has attracted more attention than Jesse James. This revisionist biography delves into the exciting life James led. Yet it also places James within a specific political context, showing why it was possible for this murderous bandit to emerge as a folk hero among Southern sympathizers following the Civil War. James is often grouped with famous frontier criminals like Billy the Kidd and Butch Cassidy, but he's best understood as a Southerner who forged partisan alliances in postwar Missouri and promoted himself as a latter-day Robin Hood. Stiles describes James as "a foul-mouthed killer who hated as fiercely as anyone on the planet" and places his life in the context of "the struggle for--or rather, against--black freedom."
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: A Novel
Author: Ron Hansen
Description: This is historical fiction, but an interesting overview of legendary Jesse James as a fabled outlaw; a charismatic, spiritual, larger-than-life bad man. Robert Ford was a young upstart torn between dedicated worship and murderous jealousy, the "dirty little coward" who coveted Jesse's legend. The powerful, strange, and unforgettable story of their interweaving paths—and twin destinies that would collide in a rain of blood and betrayal—is a story of America in all her rough, conflicted glory and the myths that made her. We will visit Jesse James' home (where he was shot) during our program.
The Saga of the Pony Express
Author: J. J. Dicerto
Description: Along with the history of the Pony Express system, this book provides historical photos and a list of stations and the young riders who made history taking the mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. Riders- as young as 14- braved Indian attacks, robbers, and harsh weather and conditions on the difficult runs. We will visit the original Pony Express stables during our program.
Union Pacific Railroad (MBI Railroad Color History)
Author: Joe Welsh and Kevin Holland
Description: This historical outline follows the Union Pacific from its formation through such landmark events as the completion of the transcontinental railroad to the railroad’s current role in the continent’s current transportation infrastructure. Fully illustrated with historical and modern images, the book recaptures the drama of the railroad’s perilous formative years, its weathering of economic disasters like the Great Depression, its boom times during World War II, the subsequent decline of passenger services, and the UP’s role in the rail industry’s merger-mania from the 1970s through the 1990s. We will visit the Union Pacific Museum in Council Bluffs, IA during our program.
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Author: Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, John McBrewster (Editors)
Description: This new book release describes the merger of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Burlington Northern Railroad, BNSF Railway, Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, Santa Fe-Southern Pacific. Our program overnights in Atchison, Kansas.