The Hudson A History Tom Lewis

Publication date:
26 Apr 2007
Yale University Press
352 pages: 235 x 156mm
33 b-w illus. + 40 maps

A vivid history of the Hudson River and how it has fired the American imagination for four hundred years

Flowing through a valley of sublime scenery, the Hudson 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 such less famous individuals 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.


Tom Lewis is professor of English at Skidmore College. Among his previous books are Divided Highways: The Interstate Highway System and the Transformation of American Life and Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, both of which became award-winning documentaries.

Selected for Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 2006

“Water, per se, is not that interesting but rivers highlight and emphasize the land and lives and ideas that cram their banks. What Tom Lewis has so wonderfully done here is willed to life one of the great rivers in our history, insisting that it offer up its deep secrets and best stories.”—Ken Burns

"Few places in America can match the beauty, the majesty, and the historic significance of the Hudson River. Thanks to Tom Lewis's elegant style, penetrating observations, and marvelous illustrations, we at last have a book worthy of such a grand topic."—Kenneth T. Jackson, Editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City