Anfinson, John O. 2003. The River We have Wrought: A History of the Upper Mississippi. Minneapolis University of Minnesota Press. The book is a history of the development of the Mississippi River by the Army Corps of Engineers. It ends with the creation of the 9-foot lock and dam system in 1940. His analysis of this development leans heavily upon a social movement explanation of events, i.e., the outcomes on the river reflected the activities of the largest, most active constituencies in the region. At certain points in the story he emphasizes the resistant role of key Corps of Engineers leadership who were hapless in the face of an emerging social movement what wanted the river developed commercially.
Diedrich, Mark. 2004. The Chiefs Wapasha: Three Generations of Dakota Leadership 1740-1876. Rochester, Minnesota:Coyote Books. A sympathetic account of the career of three generations of Dakota Chiefs. The book gives an excellent rendition, through these personal accounts, of the ways in which American Indians were pushed around and caught in between the three powers on the North American continent, including conflicts between the various tribes. The book emphasizes local social and geographic links to these major social processes as Europeans cleared the way westward for their civilization.
Dolin, Eric Jay. Photos by John and Karen Hollingsworth. 2003. Smithsonian Book of National Wildlife Refuges. Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Institution Press.
The book, a photographic and historical overview of the Wildlife Refuges, celebrates the 100-year anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt’s proclamation creating the first of the National Wildlife Refuges. The book is an excellent primer on the rise of the refuge system and the astonishing wildlife it has preserved and protected.
Fischman, Robert L. 2003. The National Wildlife Refuges: Coordinating a Conservation system through Law. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. There are good early chapters on the various ways in which wildlife refuges (called by a number of names) have been created. This is followed by an extended discussion of their legal/administrative evolution. Much of the book is an examination of current attempts to bring them together into a single administrative entity.
Fremling, Calvin R. 2005. Immortal River: The Upper Mississippi in Ancient and Modern Times. University of Wisconsin Press. If you ever wondered what kind of a book a River Rat would write if he/she had a biology degree, this is the book for you. Where else can you read a chapter on Upper Mississippi River fish and get a story about headless Shad? Fremling tells the story of the Upper Mississippi starting about 500 million years ago; plainly and without jargon. If you only have time to read one book before you do the Road Trip, read this one.
Lewis, Henry. 1967 (1854). The Valley of the Mississippi Illustrated. Originally in German as Das Illustrirte Mississippithal, Arnz and Company of Dusseldorf. Translated from the German by A. Hermina Poatgieter. Edited with an introduction and notes by Bertha L. Heilbron. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society. A German traveler’s take on the Mississippi River, including water color prints of the scenes and towns along it. His descriptions give a good sense of the transition the Mississippi was undergoing as it became the main carrier of goods and people on the expanding frontier.
Lichter, Nick. 2004. The Road of Souls: Reflections on the Mississippi. Ferryville, WI: Wing Dam Press. A personal account of a canoe trip the length of the Mississippi. He provides some of the same kind of historical-cultural information as Young does in her book (see below), embedded in an even more personal account.
Riley, Laura and William. 1992. A Guide to the National Wildlife Refuges (Revised and Expanded). New York: MacMillan. A short description of the each of the wildlife refuges in the U.S.A. There are directions on how to get there, hours open, what to do and who to contact for more information.
U.S. Geological Survey. 1999. Ecological Status and Trends of the Upper Mississippi River System 1998: A Report of the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program. La Crosse, WI: U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center. An excellent introduction to the Upper Mississippi River as a ecological system, with descriptions of the effects on river quality of the early Native Americans, fur traders and farmers. It develops a systematic set of standards to evaluate the quality of the Upper Mississippi River as well as a large number of technical papers on various flora and fauna. Excellent background for understanding river ecology.
Young, Biloine Whiting. 2004. River of Conflict, River of Dreams: Three Hundred Years on the Upper Mississippi. Pogo Press. An original book about the Upper Mississippi River written for the reenactment of President Milard Fillmore’s 1854 Grand Excursion, in 2004. The author has gone to original sources to bring in first-personal accounts of the conflicts which occurred along the Upper Mississippi with the expansion of the American Frontier. River of Conflict is probable the best historical-cultural primer on the Upper Mississippi available.
Brian C. Aldrich, Editor