An adventure story from the wilds of early America, “The Land between the Rivers” recreates the journeys of the English botanist Thomas Nuttall, one of American history's most well-traveled scientists.
During the early nineteenth century, Nuttall explored the waters, valleys, plains, and mountains of the Great Lakes, Ohio River, Mississippi River, as well as the Missouri, Arkansas, Red, and Canadian river valleys of the former Louisiana Territory.
In this fascinating account of Nuttall's travels through the wilderness of the middle west, author Russell Lawson-using Nuttall's own journal-captures the sense of excitement of the early wanderer. As much a delight for the mind as the senses, The Land between the Rivers details the unremitting weather and rugged geography of uncharted lands within the Louisiana Territory. A sense of discovery pervades the narrative as Nuttall's odyssey builds to its climax in the prairie wilderness of what is now Oklahoma. Sickened by “ague”-in his case, malaria-Nuttall at times was barely able to go on; yet he continued to search for and catalog plants and animals.
“The Land between the Rivers” expands our knowledge of the work of one of the country's earliest botanists. We also learn a great deal about the early explorers, the inhabitants of the unsettled land, and about the land and culture of the times.
RUSSELL M. LAWSON is Assistant Professor of History at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma