This book was first published in 1972, and is still in print, in paper. The author also wrote "The Great Santini", "The Lords of Discipline", and "The Prince of Tides". His current best-seller is "Beach Music". "The River is Wide" is a fictionalized version of Conroy's own experiences as a teacher of isolated and neglected rural black children in South Carolina. It is an inspirational novel for anyone involved in teaching or considering a career in teaching. It was also made into a movie, "Conrack", which starred Jon Voigt. I haven't seen the film, but I enjoyed the book very much. The rural students that Conroy describes bear some resemblance to the disadvantaged youth of our own time. Teachers who "want to make a difference" ought to consider the opportunities in the communities that most need them.