The Hudson River has always played a vital role in American culture. Flowing through a valley of sublime scenery, the great river uniquely connects America's past with its present and future. This book traces the course of the river through four centuries, recounting the stories of explorers and traders, artists and writers, entrepreneurs and industrialists, ecologists and preservationists - those who have been shaped by the river as well as those who have helped shape it. Their compelling narratives attest to the Hudson River's distinctive place in American history and the American imagination. Among those who have figured in the history of the Hudson are Benedict Arnold, Alexander Hamilton, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Astors and the Vanderbilts, and Thomas Cole of the Hudson River school. Their stories appear here, alongside those of less famous individuals such as the surveyor who found the source of the Hudson and the engineer who tried to build a hydroelectric plant at Storm King Mountain. Inviting us to view the river from a wider perspective than ever before, this entertaining and enlightening book is worthy of its grand subject.