In particular, his research is focussed around the Mississippi River. His first book, River of Dreams: Imagining the Mississippi Before Mark Twain (Louisiana State University Press, 2007) was an interdisciplinary examination of the different roles played by the Mississippi in antebellum American culture. His second book, Southern Queen: New Orleans in the Nineteenth Century (Continuum, 2011), was an exploration of the life and culture of one of America's most fascinating cities during a crucible period in its history. He is also the editor of Blacklegs, Card Sharps and Confidence Men: Nineteenth-Century Mississippi River Gambling Stories (Louisiana State University Press, 2010), and, with Prof. Sarah Churchwell, Must Read: Rediscovering American Bestsellers, from Charlotte Temple to The Kite Runner (Continuum, 2012). Alongside those books, he has written numerous articles on a wide variety of topics - outlaws and highwaymen, country music, antebellum religious movements - for various journals and collections. He has also written for a number of magazines, including New Statesman, BBC History Magazine, and History Today, and appeared on radio (BBC Book Café, BBC 6Music) and television (Heir Hunters, Myth Hunters). At present, he is at work on a study of the life-long relationship between Mark Twain and the Mississippi River.
This website is a record of his publications and associated research activities. You can learn more about his books here, and his articles here. Follow him on twitter, and please feel free to contact him about any aspect of his work.
He (occasionally) blogs about nineteenth-century literature at American Scrapbook.