Mississippi River

Mighty Mississippi: Bridging America

Immerse yourself in history as you learn about the life of Mark Twain, enjoy insight from a local historian and explore the mighty Mississippi aboard an authentic steamboat.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20726RJ
12 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Explore the Upper Mississippi aboard the magnificent American Queen, an authentic paddlewheel steamboat that recalls the romance and adventure of the past. From the Gateway Arch to the Wisconsin Amish Country, fill your heart with the spirit of expansion and feed your mind with the historic events and fascinating figures that define this iconic corner of America.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Explore Hannibal, Missouri, and learn how it inspired the work of its most famous son, Mark Twain.
  • Learn about the impact that the steamboat had on the development of the United States from a historian.
  • Set out into Saint Paul to discover how the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers helped shape the city’s history.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Emigrants
by Vilhelm Moberg, Gustaf Lannestock (Translator)
The author, Vilhelm Moberg, one of Swedens' great 20th century writers, captures the daily lives of Swedish pioneers in early America in this first of four novels about a Swedish couple who make a new life in Minnesota.
Old Man River, The Mississippi River in North American History
by Paul Schneider
Schneider's magnificent portrait takes in ancient geology, mound builders, the Iroquois, explorers, trappers, the Civil War and the steamboat era all the way to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Moon Handbook St. Louis
by Brooke S. Foster
A no-nonsense practical guide in the Moon series, jam-packed not only with travel necessities (hotels, restaurants, sights), but also with a good overview of history, flora and fauna and geology.
Mississippi Solo: A River Quest
by Eddy L. Harris
From Minnesota to New Orleans, Harris travels the length of the Mississippi in a canoe, facing shotgun-wielding bigots, wild dogs and tumultuous waves, ultimately emerging with an unforgettable and engaging American memoir.
Mark Twain On Travel
by Mark Twain, Terry Mort (Editor)
A journalist, wanderer, opinionated and marvelously entertaining, Mark Twain wrote five well-received travel books over his long career. Editor Terry Mort handpicks choice selections for this satisfying anthology, organized geographically.
The Mississippi Steamboat Era in Historic Photographs, Natchez to New Orleans, 1870-1920
by Joan Gandy, Thomas Gandy
An excellent collection of early steamboat photos. Images include steamboat exteriors, interiors, passengers, crew and river scenes.
The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation
by Stephen Ambrose, Douglas Brinkley
This illustrated popular history -- and travelogue -- tells the story of the great river from the time of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.
Delta Wedding / The Ponder Heart
by Eudora Welty
A double-bill including Delta Wedding, Welty's delightful comedy of manners, which affectionately sends up an extended southern clan, and The Ponder Heart, a comic novella about a wealthy family’s attempts to prevent a hapless son and heir from giving away the family fortune.
Life on the Mississippi
by Mark Twain
Twain returns to the days of his youth spent on the Mississippi in this classic. Full of historical information, anecdotes, character sketches and fond memories, it's at once a romantic history of a mighty river and an autobiographical account of Twain's early steamboat days.
Mark Twain, An Illustrated Biography
by Geoffrey C. Ward, Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns
This illustrated companion to the PBS series follows the arc of Twain's celebrated career.
Voices on the River
by Walter Havighurst
Havinghurst relates the colorful tale of famous steamboats and men who piloted them in this classic collection of tales of the Mississippi.
Hannibal, Missouri, Bluff City Memories
by Steve Chou
A volume in the illustrated Images of America series.
Shantyboat: A River Way of Life
by Harlan Hubbard
Hubbard and his wife built a 24-foot houseboat and lived on it for six years, eventually drifting downriver to New Orleans.
William Clark and the Shaping of the West
by Landon Y. Jones
Jones captures the drama and significance of the life of Brigadier General William Clark in this vivid tale of the man and the ruthless, often lawless, expansion of the American frontier.
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
A handsome Everyman's Edition of Twain's classics.
Hannibal Missouri, A Brief History
by Ken Marks
Tracing this history of Mark Twain's hometown from hamlet to bustling river port.
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
by Jon Dunn
From Alaska to Baja California, Nova Scotia and Florida, this guide is the veteran's choice for birding anywhere in the United States. Tabbed for easy access, the color range maps in this sixth edition are outstanding.
Wilderness and the American Mind
by Roderick Nash
A classic essay on changing American attitudes toward wilderness and the environment, including an enlightening discussion on western expansion. With chapters on Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Alaska and wilderness preservation.
The River Queen
by Mary Morris
An engaging, meditative account of travels aboard a houseboat on the upper Mississippi (the journey ends in Paris Landing, Tennessee).
USA, Central Map
by Map Art Maps
A map of the central United States.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
This Pengun Classics edition of Twain's story of Missouri river-rat Tom Sawyer is introduced by noted Twain scholar Seelye, who considers Twain's impact on American literature.
River Horse: The Logbook of a Boat Across America
by William Least Heat-Moon
William Heat-Moon and a small crew travel westward across the rivers of America in a dual-outward boat dubbed "River-Horse."
Views on the Mississippi, The Photographs of Henry Peter Bosse
by Mark Neuzil, Henry Peter Bosse
The first comprehensive collection of photographs by the foremost nineteenth-century photographer of the Mississippi River. Henry Peter Bosse's blue cyanotype prints are a beautiful introduction to steamboat era in the Midwest.
The Gateway Arch: A Biography
by Tracy Campbell
A St. Louis icon and a stunning memorial to westward expansion, the Arch triumphantly rises 630 feet over the city and attracts millions of tourist every year. Campbell reveals the history of the monument, dispelling myths and shining new light on the origins and meaning of the Arch.

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