Books to Inspire Your Travels

dolly parton book nashville

Run Rose, Run

Every song tells a story.  She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny.  It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her.  And destroy her.

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Careless People book Gilded Age

Careless People

Careless People is a unique literary investigation: a gripping double narrative that combines an unsolved crime and a quest for the roots of America’s best loved novel, The Great Gatsby. Reconstructing the events of that pivotal autumn F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his novel, revealing in the process new ways of thinking about his masterpiece.

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building the columbia river highway

Building the Columbia River Highway – They Said it Couldn’t Be Done

The gorge cuts through the Cascade Mountains to the sea, leaving little space for man to form a highway. It took one man’s vision to conquer this reluctant piece of real estate and produce the nation’s first scenic highway – meandering past waterfalls, soaring cliffs, and dramatic views. Meet Sam Hill – a one-man force of nature.

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The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered

A rich portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, who, at age nineteen, volunteered to fight under George Washington; a biography that looks past the storybook hero who cast aside family and fortune to advance the aims of liberty and justice.

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Legends & Lore of Cape Cod

Ancient Wampanoag legends like Granny Squannit and Princess Scargo are as familiar as tales of pirates and explorers. Author Robin Smith-Johnson shares historic tales of shipwrecks, murders, hauntings, and more from the Cape.

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The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

The book explores L. M. Montgomery’s deep connection to the landscapes of Prince Edward Island that inspired her to write the beloved Anne of Green Gables series. From the Lake of Shining Waters and the Haunted Wood to Lover’s Lane, you’ll be immersed in the real places immortalized in the novels.

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The Hidden History of New Orleans

The history of New Orleans is one of contrasts-heroes and villains, catastrophe and celebration, sinners and saints. Ryan Starrett and Josh Foreman offer a dose of history that spans the generations that would be hard to believe if it hadn’t happened in New Orleans.

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Mark Twain: A Life

The life and times of author Mark Twain aka Samuel Clemens. From the Mississippi River, to San Francisco, to global celebrity, Samuel Clemens did it all and observed it all. He became the American voice. Ron Powers’s magnificent biography offers the definitive life of the founding father of our culture.

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Astoria: Astor and Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire – A Tale of Ambition and Survival on the Early American Frontier

A thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. See the Columbia River and the Pacific Northwest in a new light.

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Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad

Much has been written about the overland route for enslaved peoples escaping the antebellum south. The less common route was up the eastern seaboard. Find the hidden stories and places you’ve probably never heard about before.

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The Dedicated Dancer: Annie Taylor, the Woman Who Conquered Niagara Falls in a Barrel

An historical novel about Annie Taylor, the brave woman who was the first person to conquer Niagara Falls. Protected only by a specially designed barrel, Annie survived when numerous other people had not done so.

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American Wilderness: The Hudson River School of Art

More than 40 full-color reproductions of some of their greatest paintings illustrate this historical overview of the Hudson River School of landscape painting and the lives and works of artists who were inspired first by the pastoral Hudson River Valley.

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The Jamestown Brides: The Story of England’s “Maids for Virginia” 

The story of Jamestown, England’s first real foothold in the New World, was fraught with danger and an extremely high mortality rate. In 1621, fifty-six “young and uncorrupt” women were encouraged to head there.

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The Truth About Sacajawea

A concise account of exactly what we know about Sacajawea’s contribution to the Lewis and Clark expedition. The author’s unique approach lets you draw your own conclusions whether you think Lewis and Clark would have been successful in their journey if they had not Sacajawea along with them.  

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sacajawea

Sacajawea

Captured by her enemies, married to a foreigner, and a mother at age sixteen, Sacajawea lived a life of turmoil and change. Then in 1804, this incredible woman met Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and led them on a quest to find the Pacific Ocean.

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The Essential Lewis and Clark

A compact version of the actual journals of Lewis and Clark, telling the tales of exploration, adventures, and difficulties of their journey in their own words. Read their own stories while traveling up the Columbia River and staying the winter in Astoria.

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Undaunted Courage

By Stephen Ambrose. Undaunted Courage : Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West. The best selling historian and author discusses the courage and tenacity of Lewis and Clark, Thomas Jefferson, and the expanding United States. 

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Down and Up the Columbia River

This unique book tells the story of Lewis and Clark’s journey along the Columbia River with a pull-out map to help you visualize and even follow along if you are on a drive or ship following the river. It’s unique format and helpful information make it a perfect little guide to have with you.

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Storied & Scandalous St. Louis: A History of Breweries, Baseball, Prejudice, and Protest

At the turn of the 20th century, St. Louis, Missouri, was the 4th largest city in the country and  known for its manufacturing, beer, railroad hub, music, baseball, the World’s Fair, and its romance with the Mississippi. This collection of stories from the headlines includes tales of cholera epidemic, ragtime racism, spiritualism, and fights for women’s suffrage.

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Historic Photos of Steamboats on the Mississippi

Steamboats have carved out a very special place in American history, especially along the Mississippi River, where they brought passengers, cargo, mail, entertainment, and news—both good and bad—to the settlements of a new nation. They enabled some of our nation’s major cities to grow and flourish. The historic photographs tell the story of steamboats that plied the Mississippi and the glorious era they symbolized.

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All Hell Can’t Stop Them: The Battles for Chattanooga―Missionary Ridge and Ringgold

 In the sequel to Battle Above the Clouds—the book details the dramatic final actions of the battles for Chattanooga: Missionary Ridge and the final Confederate rearguard action at Ringgold, where Patrick Cleburne held Grant’s Federals at bay and saved the Army of Tennessee from further disaster.

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artist grant wood

Grant Wood: A Life

Wood was one of America’s most famous regionalist painters; to love his work was the equivalent of loving America itself. In his time, he was an “almost mythical figure,” recognized most supremely for his hard-boiled farm scene, American Gothic, a painting that has come to reflect the essence of America’s traditional values—a simple, decent, homespun tribute to our lost agrarian age.

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bing crosby

Call Me Lucky, the Autobiography of Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby, a Spokane WA native:  “Call Me Lucky remains one of the most enchanting of all show business memoirs. It not only chronicles, with reasonable accuracy, the life of a central figure in the popular culture of this century, but reproduces the merry, occasionally guileful tone Bing Crosby perfected on radio and in movies. This is Crosby the way he wanted to be known to his adoring public and in all likelihood to himself.”

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birdmen book

Birdmen

Birdmen sets the engrossing story of the Wrights’ war with Glen Curtiss against the thrilling backdrop of the early years of manned flight, and is rich with period detail and larger-than-life personalities. For more than a decade, they battled each other in court, at air shows, and in the newspapers. The outcome of this contest of wills would shape the course of aviation history—and take a fearsome toll on the men involved.

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ulysses s grant book

To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876

An epic history spanning the battlegrounds of the Civil War and the violent turmoil of Reconstruction to the forgotten electoral crisis that nearly fractured a reunited nation, the story dramatically reveals Ulysses S. Grant’s essential yet underappreciated role in preserving the United States.

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hudson river school of art book

The Hudson River School: American Landscape Artists

During a fifty-year period, an artistic movement developed in America that was inspired by the wild areas in the vicinity of New York’s Hudson River.  While most of these artists did not think of themselves as belonging to a movement, they did share a sense of wonder at the grandeur of the New World’s remarkable scenic wilderness.

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the gilded age book

Gilded: How Newport Became America’s Richest Resort

Newport is the legendary and beautiful home of American aristocracy and the sheltered super-rich. Many of the country’s most famous blueblood families have lived and summered in Newport since the 19th century. The Astors, the Vanderbilts, JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Doris Duke are just a few of the many names who have called the city home.

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The magnificent lives of Marorie Post

The Magnificent Life of Marjorie Post

Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all.  This is the story of an heiress, socialite, collector, and creator of one of the most amazing home museums you’ll find in Washington, D.C.

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Civil Rights Activist Ida B Wells

Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells

Ida B. the Queen tells the awe-inspiring story of a pioneering woman who was often overlooked and underestimated—a woman who refused to exit a train car meant for white passengers; a woman brought to light the horrors of lynching in America; a woman who cofounded the NAACP.

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Fashion theatre de la mode

Théâtre de la Mode: Fashion Dolls: The Survival of Haute Couture

World War II had unexpected consequences. Read the story how the fashion and haute couture industry created a world in miniature and traveled the world to keep their love of fashion alive – and how their creation ended up on display at the Maryhill Museum on the Columbia River Gorge.

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Alva Vanderbilt Women's Suffrage

Alva Vanderbilt Belmont: Unlikely Champion of Women’s Rights

A New York socialite and feminist, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont was known to be domineering, temperamental, and opinionated. Her resolve stood her in good stead using her wealth, her expertise, and her social celebrity to help convince Congress to pass the 19th Amendment. Meetings were often held at her mansion’s Chinese Pagoda in Newport, Rhode Island.

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sons of providence two men living colonial life america

Sons of Providence

Sons of Providence paints a vivid portrait of Colonial life and the early struggles of the anti-slavery movement as we follow these founding brothers from Providence, Rhode Island in their rise to the heights of American commerce and power and from revolution to nationhood.

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andy warhol diaries

The Andy Warhol Diaries

The spotlight shines on one of the most influential and controversial figures in American culture. Filled with shocking observations about the lives, loves, and careers of the rich, famous, and fabulous, Warhol’s journal is endlessly fun and fascinating. After reading you may want to visit the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh for more!

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Regina Charboneau cookbook

Chef Regina Charboneau’s Mississippi Current Cookbook

Born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, Chef Regina has had a noteworthy life, including becoming a key figure in the American food scene in California that happened in the 1980s. This recipe collection includes the diverse food and culinary traditions from the ten states that border the Mississippi River that runs through Natchez. With 200 contemporary recipes for 30 meals and celebrations, and more than 150 stunning photographs.

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the steamboat era

The Steamboat Era: A History of Fulton’s Folly on American Rivers, 1807-1860

The steamboat evokes images of leisurely travel, genteel gambling, and lively commerce, but behind the romanticized view is an engineering marvel that led the way for the steam locomotive. From the steamboat’s development by Robert Fulton to the dawn of the Civil War, the new mode of transportation opened up America’s frontiers and created new trade routes and economic centers. If you love paddlewheel boats, you’ll enjoy reading this book!

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history of the chocktaw, chickasaw and natchez indians

History of the Chocktaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez Indians

The author was the son of missionaries and observed the Indians’ heartbreaking removal from Mississippi between 1831 and 1833. Later, he embarked on writing his History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians from the Indians’ point of view. Published in 1899, his history is extremely valuable for his firsthand observations on the removal and later history of the Choctaws and Chickasaws as well as for its material on the Natchez Indians of the lower Mississippi River.

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