Paddlewheel riverboat, showboat, sternwheeler: in all its myriad forms, the steamboat revolutionized American travel in the 1800s, taking millions of people inland and helping to settle and develop the vast territories beyond the original colonies. It was an era in which young boys dreamed of becoming steamboat pilots and Mark Twain immortalized the floating palaces that travelled up and down the Mississippi River. In this fascinating history, Sara Wright explains the factors that made the era perfect for the development of the steam engine and paddle boat, taking the reader far beyond the romantic image and revealing the steamboat as a vital and essential force in the development of the nation.
Sara Wright is a member of the American Sternwheel Association (www.americansternwheel.org), to whose newsletter she is a regular contributor. A professional artist and photographer, she has also been involved with the restoration of sternwheel houseboats. She earned a bachelor of science degree in commercial design from Indiana State University.