In October 1986, author Dennis Brown -- after having spent seven years as a publicist at CBS Entertainment in New York City -- returned to mid-America to travel on the iconic Delta Queen steamboat. His account of three weeks of leisurely cruising on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers -- first, east from St. Louis to Pittsburgh; then south to New Orleans -- is an evocative time capsule that carries the reader back to a nostalgic world when, as Grammy Award winner John Hartford affirms, steamboating was "the only sane way to travel." An array of voices -- past and present, imagined and real -- joins Brown on the Delta Queen: people like General Ulysses S. Grant, who traversed these same watery routes during the American Civil War; Abraham Lincoln, whose young character was shaped on both rivers, and film star Gregory Peck, who portrayed Lincoln in a television mini-series about the Civil War. Then there is Mark Twain, whose spectral presence is so prominent throughout Voices, it's almost as if the celebrated humorist is a fellow passenger aboard the DQ. One of the many joys of steamboating is that travelers never know what unexpected delight lies in wait around the next bend. So too, in Voices on the River, the reader never knows what happy surprise awaits on the next page: perhaps a chance meeting with John Wayne or an unexpected appearance by Roy Rogers. Here, an account of Jimmy Carter's presidential cruise down the Upper Mississippi from St. Paul to St. Louis; now, the recollections from a survivor of the air attack on Pearl Harbor. On one page, you will find yourself stranded in Shawneetown, Illinois, with Helen Hayes, first lady of the American theater; on another, James Garner exults in the thrill of driving the pace car at the Indy 500. Voices on the River also affords the reader a rare opportunity to make the charming acquaintance of the wry and sprightly Captain Fred Way, the first riverman since Mark Twain to become a prominent author. Way, who in 1947 organized the daring ocean trek that brought the former Sacramento River ferry to her new home in Cincinnati, is ideally suited to recount the storied sage of the Delta Queen. Part river chronicle, part popular history, part personal memoir -- there has never been a book quite like Voices on the River. By the time Brown concludes his journey in New Orleans, chances are that you too will fall in love with steamboating -- and envy those who were privileged to view America from the decks of the Delta Queen.