As author:

Deep Water: The Mississippi River in the Age of Mark Twain (LSUP, 2019)

Advance praise from Professor Sarah Churchwell, author of Behold America: A History of America First and the American Dream:
“An exemplary work of American literary history, situating Mark Twain's writing about the river that so defined it within a wider understanding of how that river culture also shaped America. Comprehensively researched, sweeping in its scope, rich in its depths, Smith's book is an authoritative - likely definitive - primer for understanding what the deep waters of 'The Mississippi' meant to Twain, and still means to American culture."

Advance praise from Ben Tarnoff, author of The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers:
"This is the story of a great American writer and a great American river, and the relationship between the two. Thomas Ruys Smith's elegantly written, deeply researched account brings us closer to Mark Twain by enriching our understanding of the river that flowed through his life and work. We see the Mississippi worlds that made Twain, and come away with immeasurably deeper insight into the worlds he made."
Advance praise from Andrew Levy, author of Huck Finn's America: Mark Twain and the Era That Shaped His Masterpiece:
"By embedding Twain's canonical work on the Mississippi River in the context of what numerous less celebrated others wrote on the same subject, Thomas Ruys Smith provides a valuable new perspective on Twain's vision, not just of the river, but of race, gender, imperialism, and national culture."

Southern Queen: New Orleans in the Nineteenth Century (Continuum, 2011).

Advance praise from Anthony Stanonis, author of Creating the Big Easy: New Orleans and the Emergence of Modern Tourism, 1918-1945 (University of Georgia Press, 2006):

"A sweeping history of nineteenth century New Orleans, as provided now by Thomas Ruys Smith's Southern Queen, has been sorely lacking [...] Scholars and general readers will find Smith's book a valuable and highly accessible addition to studies of this alluring city. Those new to the city's past, moreover, would do well to take Smith as a guide."

Advance praise from Thomas C. Buchanan, author of Black Life on the Mississippi: Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World:
"A major contribution to the history of the Queen City."
Available from Amazon here. Read reviews here.

River of Dreams: Imagining the Mississippi Before Mark Twain (Louisiana State University Press, 2007).

Advance praise from Louis J. Budd:
"River of Dreams pulled me along as irresistibly as the Mississippi itself, deep into the South's past. Mark Twain, I think, would have read it as closely as he read and enjoyed the actual river in his piloting days. Though this book deserves rapt (not raft) attention for its own insights and appreciativeness, explicators of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should absorb it before traveling further with or into Huck, on the river or on shore."
Available from Amazon here. Read reviews here.

As editor:

The Last Gift: The Christmas Stories of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (Louisiana State University Press, 2023).

Advance praise from Alfred Bendixen:

“Thomas Ruys Smith’s edition of Freeman’s Christmas stories is a revelation! All our presumptions about holiday stories being drenched in sentimentality are demolished by the ways in which Freeman probes the multiple meanings inherent in the acts of giving and receiving gifts and exposes the forms of both solitude and communion inherent in Christmas. This collection transforms our understanding of the season and enhances the literary reputation of this remarkable author.”

— Alfred Bendixen, executive director of the American Literature Association

Advance praise from Susanna Forrest, author of The Age of the Horse (Atlantic, 2016) and If Wishes Were Horses (2012):

"This thoughtful new edition reminds us that Anna Sewell's celebrated 'translation from the original equine' has much to teach us, and that Black Beauty's quiet voice can still be heard above the noise of the twenty-first century."

Selected advance praise:

"Christmas Past is an invaluable contribution to not just to the study of Christmas stories but to the history of nineteenth-century American literature."
— Gerry Bowler, author of The World Encyclopedia of Christmas and Santa Claus: A Biography

"Christmas Past, with its lucid introduction, is a lovely and broad-ranging collection of nineteenth-century Christmas stories that ably illuminates the ways in which literary imaginations inspired and guided the creation of the 'old-fashioned' American Christmas."
—Penne L. Restad, author of Christmas in America: A History

Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music: America Changed Through Music (Routledge, 2016).

Advance praise from Rob Young, author of Electric Eden:

"The Anthology of American Folk Music is a talismanic casket of musical treasures, containing the key to decoding the tangled patterns of Harry Smith’s interests in multiple art forms. This valuable essay collection offers invigorating and learned perspectives on the Anthology and its connections with folklore, magic, and hidden histories of America. It’s a celebration of Smith’s maverick verve and shamanic energy, reinstating him as a wonder-working polymath whose occult activities rippled out widely into 20th century culture."

Available from Amazon UK here, Amazon US here.

Must Read: Rediscovering American Bestsellers, from Charlotte Temple to The Da Vinci Code (Continuum, 2012).

Advance praise from Leon Jackson, author of the The Business of Letters: Authorial Economies in Antebellum America:
"Must Read breathes new life into the study of best-sellers, rescuing them from not only the enormous condescension of posterity but also from the flattering but often reductive readings of modern academics. With its artful blend of textual analysis, historicization, and theoretical speculation, the contributors challenge us to reread and rethink a host of works, ranging from short stories and sentimental novellas to advice manuals and modern blockbusters. For anyone with an interest in the contours of American print culture from the eighteenth century to the present, Must Read is itself a must read work."
Available from Amazon here. Read reviews here.

Blacklegs, Card Sharps and Confidence Men: Nineteenth-Century Mississippi River Gambling Stories (Louisiana State University Press, 2010).

Advance praise from Thomas C. Buchanan, author of Black Life on the Mississippi: Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World:
“Blacklegs, Card Sharps, and Confidence Men is the most significant collection of riverlore published in decades. Thomas Ruys Smith’s wide-ranging anthology includes selections from high and low culture, demonstrating the evolution of gambling from a widely feared part of the early river trade to a romanticized American cultural icon. This collection is essential to understanding the history of gambling in America and solidifies Smith’s reputation as the leading cultural historian of American river life.”
Available from Amazon here. Read reviews here.

In collaboration with Hilary Emmett, UEA Publishing Project and UEA Students:

Coming soon