Nominated for IPPY's Best Coffee Table Book of 2020
America's most important and iconic river has many familiar names: The Mighty Mississippi, Old Blue, and Ole Man River. In Mississippi River: Headwaters and Heartland to Delta and Gulf, the third book of his trilogy on North American Waters, David Freese takes us on a captivating visual journey from its source at Lake Itasca in Minnesota 2,552 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico. Freese's photographs open our eyes to encompass a wide diversity of industry and farmland, cities and towns, landscapes and wildlife, all the while revealing the constant flow of goods, grain, and fuel, up and down the country's major shipping artery.
The photographs illustrate the ongoing dangers posed by increased flooding and the protective measures taken by the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers to try and keep a restless river in check. There are environmental concerns, ranging from habitat loss to agricultural and pesticide runoff, and the legacy of slavery and the removal of native peoples persist. It's a river that reveals a complicated past, present, and future as humankind attempts to control nature. American history bends and turns in its waters.
The noted author Simon Winchester has written an arresting essay that provides one of the most compelling descriptions and histories yet written about a river that is so much more than a familiar name. The foreword by Sarah Kennel, Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, places Freese's images into the canon of landscape photography as a magnificent body of work that documents, critiques, honors, and sanctifies America's most treasured river.