The Rivers Ran Backward

By Christopher Phillips,

Book cover of The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border

Book description

Most Americans believe that the Ohio River was a clearly defined and static demographic and political boundary between North and South, an extension of the Mason-Dixon Line. Once settled, the new states west of the Appalachians - the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri and of the free states of…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

1 author picked The Rivers Ran Backward as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

To outsiders, Kentucky is clearly part of the South. For those of us who live here—especially those who know a little about the state’s history—it can be a little more nebulous. Phillips’ book helps explain why. Kentucky had a lot in common with its fellow states of the first West like Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, and those northern states could be a lot more “southern” than commonly understood. Phillips’s book shows how the Civil War remade those regional boundaries, turning the Ohio River into a line of separation between “North” and “South.”

Want books like The Rivers Ran Backward?

Our community of 11,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like The Rivers Ran Backward.

Browse books like The Rivers Ran Backward

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in collective identity, the American Civil War, and Kentucky?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about collective identity, the American Civil War, and Kentucky.

Collective Identity Explore 13 books about collective identity
The American Civil War Explore 310 books about the American Civil War
Kentucky Explore 75 books about Kentucky