The author: W. Barksdale Maynard ’88, a lecturer at Princeton, has previously published six books, including Woodrow Wilson: Princeton to the Presidency, Princeton: America’s Campus, and the award-winningWalden Pond: A History.
The book: The Brandywine River winds from southeastern Pennsylvania into Delaware and carries with it a rich story. Maynard offers a sweeping narrative of the river and the men and women who shaped the region’s culture and history. They include the du Ponts, who made their fortune there, and Andrew Wyeth, whose paintings captured the people and natural landscape of the region.
Opening lines: “It comes down from the Welsh Mountains and twists its way through some of the prettiest countryside in the middle states before gushing along a rocky gorge at Wilmington and meeting tidewater. The quintessential Piedmont stream, running lively over the rocks, the Brandywine finally loses itself into the flat and featureless Christina River, which joins the Delaware Bay.”
Reviews: Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt said, “The Brandywine flows through — and is witness to — American history like no other river. Guided by Maynard’s insightful writing and illustrations, I made a fascinating journey to meet up with Washington and Lafayette, the du Ponts, the Wyeth family, and their times in this famous valley.”