Situated between the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Southern Illinois country is rich in history, folklore, scenery, and natural resources. At about the latitude of southern Virginia, and extending from the flat prairie farmland of central Illinois to the rugged Illinois Ozarks, the area is the natural terminal boundary for hundreds of plant species reaching out to all points of the compass. It is also the oldest and most sparsely populated part of Illinois, a region of small towns and independent people.
Surveying the area in words and pictures, the authors sensitively and appreciatively portray the region's special qualities. Land Between the Rivers, a perennial classic since it was first published in 1973, provides an uncommon portrayal of American life in a distinct region, a memorable journey in both time and place.
C. William Horrell was instrumental in establishing the Department of Cinema and Photography at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). During Horrell’s lifetime, his photographs appeared in many major metropolitan newspapers and a variety of popular and specialty magazines, including Life, Pic, Youth, and Friends. He died in 1989.
Henry Dan Piper, a former chemist who worked on the Manhattan Project before switching to the study of literature, was the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at SIUC and, later, a professor of English. He died in 1999.
John W. Voigt was a professor of botany at SIUC for four decades. He was the author of many books and articles, including Plant Communities of Southern Illinois (with Robert H. Mohlenbrock; SIU Press). He died in 1990.
"Land Between the Rivers is a smoothly written, well-printed, and beautifully illustrated folio volume about southern Illinois. Written, illustrated, and otherwise put together by a photographer, a professor of English, and a botanist, the final product is an informal history, a social commentary, and a tourist-oriented description of the southern fourth of the state."
– Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society