A few months ago I purchased a copy of Alan Bates's book, "The Belle of Louisville." I expected the book to be purely technical in nature, but for the most part was mistaken! I was pleasantly surprised to find many fantastic tales about the boats early days as the Belle and the people who were involved with her operation and rebuild. I also learned to enjoy the writing style and wit of the author. This prompted me to buy another of Alan's books, "Naval Architect," which is written in largely the same style and offers a vignette of Alan's career designing excursion boats. In addition to those, "The Log of the Betsy Ann" and "Pilotin' Comes Natural" (both by Frederick Way, Jr.) have become two of my favorites. I believe these books are so interesting because they have a human element, and aren't completely technical in nature.

Some of these books were harder to find than others, and there are still a few on my list that I'm searching for. I think the above listed works should be considered essential reading for anyone interested in the topics of steamboats, life on the western rivers, or anyone who enjoys tales about times-gone-by. So, what other books are out there that should be considered essential reading? And what better place to compile a list of these works than the forums! To begin:

- "The Belle of Louisville" by Alan Bates.
- "The Log of the Betsy Ann" by Frederick Way, Jr.
- "Naval Architect" by Alan Bates.
- "Pilotin' Comes Natural" by Frederick Way, Jr.
- "The Western Rivers Steamboat Cyclopedium" by Alan Bates.
- "Moonlite at 8:30" by Clarke Hawley and Alan Bates.
- "The Island Queen" by John and Robert White.
- ???