Lion of the Valley
St. Louis, Missouri, 1764-1980
Distributed for Missouri History Museum Press
To begin the preface to the second edition of Lion of the Valley, James Neal Primm quotes the Reverend W. C. Bitting: "A city is more than an assemblage of buildings with streets between them. It has a soul, and an atmosphere, and a social significance to which all material things should be made to minister." If a history book can help define that atmosphere and significance, Lion of the Valley has done so for St. Louis, telling the story of a vibrant and unusual American city in an engaging yet scholarly manner.
Primm establishes a general historical narrative of St. Louis from Pierre Laclede's first step from the bow of a bateau to the prototypes of MetroLink. As in most comprehensive accounts, Lion of the Valley focuses on the central institutions and personalities that have shaped the city, as well as the events and circumstances that brought fame, or fear, to the citizens of St. Louis. The Great Fire of 1849; the 1904 World's Fair; the machinations of the "Big Cinch"; the construction of the Gateway Arch; these and many other episodes from the city's colorful past come to life in the pages of Primm's book.
This newly designed fourth edition offers a new preface from the author and a revised and expanded index in order to make the book more reader friendly, while maintaining the integrity of the original text. It will be indispensable to students of St. Louis history as well as amateurs interested in the development of this great city.