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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Cruising the Mississippi: From New Orleans to Memphis on a Genuine Paddlewheeler is a nonfiction travel memoir written by Al and Sunny Lockwood. Even before they met, Al and Sunny were both natural-born explorers. When they did meet, it was in California. He was a photographer, she a reporter, and the two soon realized that they shared a love of travel. Their extensive ramblings across the Western United States were, unfortunately, cut short by a car accident. That taste of mortality convinced them to start doing the things they had planned to do some day and to plan them right away. They found common ground and necessary comfort in taking cruises to Venice, Istanbul, and Iceland, among other destinations. Then, they noticed a cruising opportunity right here in the USA. They would cruise the Mississippi on the American Queen Steamboat Company’s flagship steamer, a six-decked, steam-powered paddlewheeler that they soon discovered was a floating museum and an absolute delight to travel on.
Cruising the Mississippi gives the reader a genuine sense that they are also on board the American Queen, exploring the small towns that line the river and luxuriating in an atmosphere that exudes the glories of a bygone era. I was intrigued to see how the couple, who were used to mega cruises with thousands of fellow travelers aboard, would react to the closeness and intimacy of this adventure, which was limited to several hundred and open to adults only. I enjoyed seeing the close relationship the Lockwoods and their fellow travelers develop with the crew and delighted in how the Lockwoods share those experiences with their readers. Their memoir is well-written and filled with fascinating historical and cultural details, and the outstanding photography brings it all quite vividly to life. Cruising the Mississippi: From New Orleans to Memphis on a Genuine Paddlewheeler is most highly recommended.