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Author and journalist Tim Spitzack spent 15 years exploring the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a 72-mile corridor along the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The park and the mighty river that flows through it offer numerous historical, cultural, recreational and natural amenities that beg the curious to explore.

Reflections from the Riverfront is an eclectic mix of writings of the author’s adventures, many of which take place on foot or in his kayak. There is travel writing here, but beautiful nature writing, too, and a dash of memoir sprinkled in. Join Tim as he enjoys a swanky meal and concert at a jazz club in Minneapolis, rides a passenger train through the heart of the river valley, watches the dance of the prairie from the cockpit of his kayak, and sits on a bench in St. Paul on the first Friday of each month for an entire year to contemplate life in a river town.

"Few people know that a unit of the National Park Service follows the Mississippi River through the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Tim Spitzack not only knows, he celebrates its presence in this book. I doubt anyone knows the park’s breadth and depth of resources, from the land and the water, as he does. In Reflections from the Riverfront he shares his knowledge and experience, creating a deep sense of place for a special reach of America’s greatest river."

John O. Anfinson, Mississippi River historian and author of The River We Have Wrought: A History of the Upper Mississippi

Once in a lifetime comes a story that will change

your life and your perspective.

John Jenkins, a young journalist, is marking off time at the small-town Marquette Messenger until he can get into the big-league newspapers. After all, nothing significant ever happens in a farming community, he thinks. Then one day Jenkins is given a routine, dull assignment—to write the obituary of an elderly local farmer, Alfred Gutzman. The remarkable untold story Jenkins uncovers through his investigation, happenstance encounters with people who knew Gutzman, and covert visits to his farm, challenge everything the reporter holds dear….

 

A poignant glimpse of the heart wounds of WWII vets on both sides of the line

The biggest stories come in the most unsuspecting of packages. "The Messenger" follows journalist John Jenkins as he faces what he thinks is a routine obituary for a local farmer, Alfred Gutzman. But through his research, he finds that life Alfred led was not one of a farmer, but an ex soldier. A moving story of collecting the memories of a veteran, "The Messenger" is not a read to be missed.

Midwest Book Review

 

Book Club Discussion Guide

 

Q&A with the Author