When CNN citizen journalist Neal Moore slid his canoe into the headwaters of the Mississippi River to begin a five-month quest for positive American stories, he was acutely aware of another American who filled his tales with what he saw and heard along the river: Mark Twain. In Down the Mississippi: A Modern-day Huck on America's River Road, Moore introduces us to a cast of ordinary Americans who share steadfast determination in a time of economic uncertainty. As he collects their stories, they begin to claim his. Arriving in Mark Twain's Hannibal, Moore is hailed as a "modern-day Huck," which is when he realizes that his story is theirs. From that point on, Moore must accept on board as stowaways the spirits of Mark Twain and Huck Finn as he continues to St. Louis and eventually on to New Orleans, Twain's regular run as a steamboat pilot. Whether interviewing a Delta musician singing the economic blues, an Ojibwe dancer sharing a secret tradition, or an inmate doing 25 to life at "The Farm," Moore's stories are imbued with the most common of all American traits: optimism.