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Jim Reising 10-21-2013 09:15 AM

A Good Read
 
I recently discovered an excellent river book, a must have for anyone interested in steamboat history, particularly packet boating on the Tennessee River. The book is "ALL ABOARD" by Irvin S. Cobb......yes the sage of Paducah, the captain of the Pride Of Paducah which raced Will Roger's Claremore Queen in the movie "Steamboat 'Round The Bend". The book was published in 1927, but copies can be found for sale on the internet.
I didn't know that Irvin S. Cobb knew anything about steamboating, but apparently his father was in the river business as was his grandfather, so Cobb rode packet boats a lot in his youth and acquired a real love for the river and for river people.
The book is actually a series of short stories all taking place on or around the fictitious packet the "Promised Land". Intermixed with the stories are excellent descriptions of historical events such as the ice gorge in the ducks nest at Paducah.
Here's a quote from the book about a steamboats main cabin....."For motives of economy an owner may skimp on his furnishings or dining-room equipment, but nobody ever heard of builder or owner who spared expense when it came to luxurious fretwork which made such white-and-gold overhead. Travelers did not often complain of bare little cubicles to sleep in, but they expected heavy grandeur in the salon and they got it, too".
Irvin S. Cobb was a good story teller.


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