Ohio River book back in print

Published 10:01 am Tuesday, August 3, 2010

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The University Press of Kentucky has republished “Towboat on the Ohio,” by James E. Casto.

Originally published in 1995, the book has been out of print and unavailable for the past 10 years.

To get a close, personal look at what it’s like to live and work on the Ohio River, Casto arranged with Ashland Inc. to travel on one of its towboats, the Paul G. Blazer, as it made its way from Huntington to Pittsburgh and back.

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The result was a book that recounts not just a narrative of his trip but also the colorful history of commerce on the Ohio, along with stories about the communities that grew up along the river and were nurtured by it.

“Although parents aren’t supposed to have favorites among their offspring, often they secretly do,” says Casto. “And in that sense, “Towboat on the Ohio” is my favorite among the dozen or so books I have done. Fifteen years after its publication, I still get letters and e-mails from people who have found it in their local library or at a used book store and want to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed it. That being the case, I’m delighted that the University Press of Kentucky is again making it available.”

Casto was a reporter and editor at The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington for more than 40 years before he retired in 2004. He’s the author of a number of books on local and regional history.

The new paperback edition of his “Towboat on the Ohio,” is being printed using print-on-demand technology. “Print-on-demand,” explains Casto, “is exactly what it sounds like – the ability to print as many or as few books as needed at any given time. In fact, computerized print-on-demand technology enables publishers to print one book at a time if they are so inclined. This is proving an ideal way to bring back out-of-print books such as mine.”

“Towboat on the Ohio” can be ordered from University Press of Kentucky at www.kentuckypress.com.