For an author, it’s deeply gratifying when a reader really understands what you’re doing and why. Steve Wiegenstein’s review of JAMES FORK OF THE WHITE: Transformation of an Ozarks River is that kind of review. Steve understands the subject and our own non-linear style of treating our topics. Most importantly, he understand the Ozarks, the land, the streams, the people. Steve is the author of a series of historical novels set in a mid-nineteenth century Utopian community named Daybreak in a valley of the St. Francis River in Madison County. The third in this series, just-published The Language of Trees, has earned high praise.
Last week Steve Pokin, the Springfield News Leader‘s columnist of the unique and sometimes quirky aspects of Springfield, interviewed Leland about our new book, JAMES FORK OF THE WHITE: Transformation of an Ozark River.
In his columns, “Pokin Around” and “Answer Man,” Steve answers readers’ curious queries, investigates puzzles and reveals many of Springfield’s little known facts and interesting personalities. One of In his columns on the (eutrophic) small lakes of Southern Hills subdivision provided needed background information for us as we discussed Galloway Creek and other small tributaries flowing into the James.
We’re gratified that he concluded, “Interested in the James River? This is the book for you.”
In 2012 we published a 304-page book about the transformation of a big, muddy river that rises in the tall grass Kansas prairie then cuts into the northern flank of the Ozark uplift before emptying into the even muddier Missouri River. Damming the Osage is a history of engineering interventions justified by questionable hydrologic theories. Human cupidity orchestrated many of these unharmonious projects.
This October, we will publish our second “river book”: James Fork of the White: Transformation of an Ozark River. In this we look at the watershed of the river that rises in Webster County near Marshfield, wends its way to Springfield, running along its eastern edge and then drains south to Table Rock. The James – unlike the Osage – feels the effects of a major metropolitan area on its watershed. The James was a storied Ozark float stream; the Osage, a prairie-born, rich but unspectacular stream, home to a prehistoric fish.
The James is definitely a different river and this is a different book. More pages (352), more illustrations (because we have more pages!) to examine, discuss and showcase that different river and the people who live and recreate along its course.
Look for it this fall!
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