About the Book
From the arrival of Marquette and Jolliet in 1673 to the emergence of the prairie poets---Edgar Lee Masters, Carl Sandburg, and Vachel Lindsay---in the twentieth century, James Gray traces the saga of the Illinois River and the people of central Illinois. In vivid prose he depicts such famous figures as the French explorer Sieur de La Salle, circuit rider Peter Cartwright, abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy, and political leader Stephen A. Douglas. His chronicle of Illinois history also includes the Indian massacre at Starved Rock, life in the French villages of the Illinois Country, the struggles of the pioneers, steamboat days in Peoria, and the operation of modern towboats on the river.
Of special interest is Gray's colorful account of the Illinois background of Abraham Lincoln. A work of literary art as well as historical interpretation, The Illinois is one of the early volumes in the famous Rivers of America series.