From its origins in the Cumberland Mountains to its entry into the Ohio, the Kentucky River flows through two areas that have made Kentucky kwn throughout the world--the dark, remote mountains in the eastern part of the state and the lush, rolling Bluegrass in its center. In this book Thomas Clark has painted a rich parama of history and life along the river, peopled with the famous and infamous, ordinary folk and legendary characters. It is a canvas distinctly emblematic of the American experience. In the beginnings were occasional European explorers, John Swift's fabulous silver lode, and the lonely outpost of Boonesborough. As later romantic figures of the state, the mountaineer vied with the planter. The Kentucky belle Sally Ward is played against the fiery abolitionist Cassius Clay, the simple life of the Shakers against the blithe amusements of Graham's Springs. In these pages are mountain funerals and moonshining and the log runs that recaptured briefly the rowdy days of the earlier keelboat trade to New Orleans. And what account of Kentucky would be complete without tice of its contentious and confounding politics, its fleet horses, and its bountiful food? All these and more are portrayed here in Clark's fond yet shrewd story of the Kentucky River. The Kentucky was first published in 1942 in the Rivers of America series and has long been out of print. Reissued in this new enlarged edition for commemoration of the Commonwealth's bicentennial, it brings back to life a distinguished contribution to Kentuckiana and is itself a historical document of a past time. In his new conclusion for this edition, Clark suggests some of the tremendous changes that have taken place sincethe book's initial publication.
Thomas D. Clark, a distinguished historian, has published widely on Kentucky and southern history.