I'm inclined to take the historical accuracy of these narratives with a grain of salt. William Ratigan, whom the cover describes as a writer of "historical novels and imaginative biographies", doesn't have the air of someone who sets a high priority on checking first-hand sources and technical data; he just likes to tell stories. This he does with an extravagance of dramatic flourishes such as this: "The huge steamboat's owners... had scheduled this as her last trip of the year — a schedule on which fate itself was to stamp grim approval." This sort of thing, along with the obligatory sentimentality and stereotypes of the human parts of the tales, gets very tiresome quickly; I found that I couldn't finish the book. However, there are some good descriptions of the landscapes (waterscapes) and weather of the region, and some cases where Ratigan picks out just the right detail to enliven the story. As a bonus, the book is very attractively designed and printed.