Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Lee Sandlin  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: in Wildwood, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Lee Sandlin on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Author lives in Chicago

Biographical and Professional Information

Sandlin is an award-winning journalist and essayist who was born in Wildwood, Illinois, and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. He briefly attended the University of Chicago and Roosevelt University before leaving school to travel and write. He currently resides in Chicago.Sandlin has written feature journalism, historical studies, and music reviews on opera and classical works. He has been a regular contributor to the ''Wall Street Journal'' and ''Chicago Reader'', where he was also for many years the TV critic. His essay “Losing the War” was included in the anthology ''The New Kings of Nonfiction''.

Published Works

    Wicked River: The Mississipp River When it Last Ran Wild, Pantheon, 2010The Distancers, Vintage, 2013Storm Kings, Pantheon Books, 2013

Selected Titles At Your Library

Wicked river :
ISBN: 0307378519. OCLC Number:

Pantheon Books,. New York :. ©2010.

From award-winning journalist Lee Sandlin comes a riveting look at one of the most colorful, dangerous, and peculiar places in America's historical landscape: the strange, wonderful, and mysterious Mississippi River of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the early 1800s and climaxing with the siege of Vicksburg in 1863, Wicked River takes us back to a time before the Mississippi was dredged into a shipping channel, and before Mark Twain romanticized it into myth. Drawing on an array of suspenseful and bizarre firsthand accounts, Sandlin brings to life a place where river pirates brushed elbows with future presidents and religious visionaries shared passage with thieves -- a world unto itself where, every night, near the levees of the big river towns, hundreds of boats gathered to form dusk-to-dawn cities dedicated to music, drinking, and gambling. Here is a minute-by-minute account of Natchez being flattened by a tornado; the St. Louis harbor being crushed by a massive ice floe; hidden, nefarious celebrations of Mardi Gras; and the sinking of the Sultana, the worst naval disaster in American history. Here, too, is the Mississippi itself: gorgeous, perilous, and unpredictable, lifeblood to the communities that rose and fell along its banks. An exuberant work of Americana -- at once history, culture, and geography -- Wicked River is a grand epic that portrays a forgotten society on the edge of revolutionary change. - Jacket flap.

The distancers :
ISBN: 034580676X. OCLC Number:

. .

In The Distancers, seven generations worth of joy and heartache is artfully forged into a family portrait that is at once universally American yet singularly Lee Sandlin's own. From the nineteenth century German immigrants who settled on a small Midwestern farm, to the proud and upright aunts and uncles with whom Sandlin spent the summers of his youth, a whole history of quiet ambition and stoic pride--of successes, failures, and above all endurance--leaps off the page in a sweeping American family epic. Touching on The Great Depression, WWII, and the American immigrant experience, the uses of proper manners, The Distancers is a beautiful and stark Midwestern drama, about a time and place long since vanished, where the author learned the value of family and the art of keeping one's distance.

Storm kings :
ISBN: 0307378527. OCLC Number:

Pantheon Books,. New York :. ©2013.

A riveting tale of the weather's most vicious monster--the supercell tornado--that recreates the origins of meteorology, and the quirky, pioneering, weather-obsessed scientists who helped change America.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Sandlin is represented by Browne & Miller Literary Associates