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Harrisburg library hosts Brown Bags & Book event

Harrisburg Register staff report
updated: 1/26/2021 3:56 PM

The Harrisburg District Library and Friends will kick off the Brown Bags & Book series at noon Wednesday, Jan. 27.

The series will start with a review of "O, America: Discovery in a New Land" by William Least Heat-Moon.

Least Heat-Moon is an American travel writer, as well as a historian of English, Irish and Osage ancestry. He's best known for his 1982 work "Blue Highways," which is an autobiographical account of his 1978 extended road trip across the U.S. in a converted 1975 Ford Econoline van, exploring American culture.

Harrisburg psychotherapist Dr. Roger K. Lyons will present the review of "O, America: Discovery in a New Land."

The review can be viewed in real-time on Harrisburg District Library's Facebook page and will be available to be viewed later at

"O, America" is the story of English physician, Dr. Nathaniel Trennant, who sails to America in 1848 to discover and examine the young nation's character and geography. His eventual companion is Deems, a slave whose escape he aids and abets. The pair travels from Baltimore to New York, and then to Pennsylvania via the new Erie Canal. By steam they traverse the Ohio River, visiting Evansville and New Harmony, Indiana. During their travels they are pursued by a runaway slave bounty hunter. They also stop at Carmi, Illinois' Ratcliffe Inn before departing for Mount Vernon, Illinois, St. Louis, and on to "buffalo territory." Their route follows the Missouri River into the upper Great Plains and the lands of Native American tribes.

The fictional story is based on real places and events. The novel is the physician's travel journal of observations and thoughts, written in Least Heat-Moon's elegant neo-Victorian English, and rich with insights that resound with contemporary meaning.