Life along the Illinois River
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Life along the Illinois River

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The Illinois River flows through the heart of Illinois, beginning in the northeast of the state at the confluence of the Kankakee River and the Des Plaines River in Will County and extending 270 miles to the southwest, where it joins the Mississippi River at Grafton in Jersey County. A major colonial trade route and home to a diverse range of wildlife, the Illinois River still serves a vital role in shipping and fishing. Many people depend on this river for their livelihoods, and many more are drawn to its waters as an escape for recreation, sport, and reflection.

This collection of photographs offers intimate insight into the Illinois River, spanning its entire length and illustrating the river throughout all seasons. Evoking moods that are by turns meditative, practical, and quirkily playful, the ninety photographs in this volume compose a portrait of the Illinois River with a face that is transformed throughout every hour of the day. Photojournalist David Zalaznik captures the spirit of people at work and at play on the river, as well as the quiet beauty of the flora and fauna that make the river a natural retreat. Guiding the reader through the unique communities built along the river’s shores--from Ottawa and Morris to Peoria and Chillicothe, from Lacon and Bath to Kampsville and Grafton, as well as many others--the photographs convey the sense of spontaneity, discovery, and celebration felt by people who live near or visit this great gift of nature.

Life along the Illinois River is a gracious portrait of a river that unites humanity and nature, and it offers a new vision of the Illinois River’s vitality and its role in our lives. The book also includes a short introduction by the photographer and a foreword by Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn


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