Missouri River Country

Dan and Connie Burkhardt, the inspiration behind Missouri River Country, a coffee-table tome of essays and photographs celebrating the Missouri River, will discuss the project and sign copies of the book at the Washington Library Friday at 7 p.m.

If you are looking for a gift idea for Christmas, don't miss this event.

The book has a generous selection of stories and photographs of Washington and the nearby Missouri River valley.

 The Missouri River is one of the most defining natural elements in the St. Louis region, both in landscape and in history. Burkhardt's book takes a fond look at the river valley's lush scenery and rich history in more than 230 photos and illustrations and from the perspective of more than 60 contributors, including Gov. Nixon, Sens. McCaskill and Blunt, author William Least Heat-Moon, conservationist Dr. Peter Raven, civic leader Dr. William Danforth, environmentalist Adolphus Busch IV, chef Gerard Craft, preservationist Jim Dierberg and many more who know and love the subjects of this book.

 Burkhardt, founder of the Katy Land Trust and co-founder of Magnificent Missouri, in partnership with those organizations and The Nature Conservancy, conceived Missouri River Country.

The collection features, in an unprecedented way, the places and stories that make up the fabric of life in the countryside west of St. Louis along the Missouri River. This colorful coffee-table book features current and historic photos in its 192 pages as well as original artwork by artist Bryan Haynes depicting events in Missouri River Country.

The route that Lewis and Clark took, that made St. Louis the Gateway to the West, was the Missouri River. The original essays and photographs in this book follow the first 100 miles of that river west from St. Louis.

Beginning with stories of Native Americans, Lewis and Clark and Daniel Boone the book weaves together German settlement, grape and wine history, architecture, historic and contemporary artists, agriculture, the Confluence, Shaw Nature Reserve, the Katy Trail, Missouri food and St. Louis chefs and the conservation measures needed to preserve the landscape into a compelling and unique anthology.

“I hope readers will pick up this book to read about a subject they love and learn about another they may not know as much about,” said Burkhardt. "Whether you are interested in local food, grapes and wine, architecture, history, conservation or art, there is a unique story or vignette in this book for you.

This 100-mile stretch of the Missouri River Valley is a terrific civic asset for St. Louis, and what has happened there is remarkable. Missouri River Country is a tribute to the natural resources and history that make our region so special.”