Book Report: Paris, Tightwad, and Peculiar: Missouri Place Names by Margot Ford McMillen (1994)

Book coverThis book at the Republic branch of the library had been teasing me for some time. When I’m there with the children or when my beautiful wife needs to pick up a book, I look over the regional history shelves. I picked up this book on a couple of occasions and put it back, vowing to read my own books before I check another out of the library. But as you know, gentle reader, I’ve been a little susceptible to library books recently, and I fell for this book.

From the title, one might expect some encyclopedic or list-based review of place names. That is not the case. This book covers, broadly, Missouri area history from the Indians in the area to the French, then Spanish, then French, then American settlers and the industries that moved through the area and how each impacted the naming of areas. Then the book gives a couple examples of it. Many of the names come from considerations when it came to creating the Post Office for each one.

So it wasn’t what I’d hoped for, but it’s a nice little read that’s more of a high-level history of Missouri than a real in-depth study of place names. I got a couple ideas for pieces out of it, which is really all you can ask for any survey book like this.

Books mentioned in this review:

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