River of Dreams is a rich study, splendidly researched and elegantly written. Although its subtitle and blurb from Louis Budd position it relative to Mark Twain, the book’s true achievement lies in its nuanced account of the “countless [antebellum] stories . . . told in countless ways about the giant river that bisected America” (194). If, as Budd suggests, River of Dreams should be required reading for readers of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it is equally valuable to students of antebellum culture [...] archivally and synthetically rich—indeed, it is quite dazzling.
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