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The Hudson: A History
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The Hudson: A History

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  90 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Yale University Press (first published 2005)
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Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
It's a beautiful book (although some of the reproductions of paintings are dark), but content-wise, I found it disappointing. Nearly half of the book focuses on the 1700's, primarily Manhattan and the lower Hudson, but explores this somewhat superficially. For a really intriguing alternative, see The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. The Hudson does become more intriguing in the latter half, and the writing seems to have more life then; for instance, the author uses a trip by ...more
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: new yorkers
Shelves: americanhistory
An OK book, but I didn't think it held together well...there are a few interesting stories but it drags on in places...and the most interesting part of the story, the clean-up effort, gets almost no space at all...
Aug 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't make it through this book. Maybe I'll try again another time. I got bored reading the Dutch history, since it's not written with anything like the skill that Island at the Center of the World is written.
Very interesting book but as it tells the history of the Hudson through illustrative episodes, much is left out and anyone familiar with the river will feel cheated that their own favorite place or story didn't make it into the book
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Not as bad as I thought....but a little scattered. Read Island at the Center of the World instead.
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up a week ago, just after seeing a northerly section of the Hudson - near Saratoga Springs and the Saratoga battlefield in upstate New York - and hoping that the book would offer a decent history of the river. Lewis certainly fulfills that hope, writing a wonderful overview of the discovery and settlement of the river, which was unusually important in early American history (from about 1600 to 1850), and not only because it was the waterway which New York City could use as its ...more
Joy H.
I posted the following at my GR group on 3/16/10:
"Last night, at our library's book discussion group, they had a drawing and I won!
The book I won is signed copy of The Hudson: A History by Tom Lewis, a historian (GR lists 24 books) and a professor of English at Skidmore College.

"To me, this is a lovely coincidence because my first date with my husband back in 1959 was when he took me water-skiing on the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge in
Bill Wallace
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good, reasonably concise history of the first major waterway of colonial America. The author focuses on themes -- commerce, culture, progress, environmentalism -- as he moves through time, always pausing to remind the reader of the beauty and value of the river. This is definitely a 101 approach, with only occasional deeper focuses on an individual person or issue, so it is probably best taken as an initial guide to a subject with countless fascinating details. I read it as a background to und ...more
Jonathan Karmel
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thought this was well-written and interesting. I learned about the American plan to stop the British advance during the Revolutionary War by putting a chain across the Hudson in the narrow part of the Hudson (the Hudson highlands), where West Point and the Appalachian Trail is. I learned about the environmental devastation caused by 19th century tanning. I learned about the ice trust, and lots of other interesting tidbits.
Aug 11, 2014 rated it liked it
My husband gave this book to me as a gift because I love kayaking on the Hudson and have a background in history. The book is dry and reads like a textbook and I can only handle small bites at a time. This is my opinion and others may differ. (The print is tiny and tortuous and it will take me forever to finish.)
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
The first part dwells too long on the Dutch history which is boring. The chapter on the American Revolution was very good and the one on the arts was wonderful. Those two save the book. It does get better toward the end
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
While some passages in this history were a bit slow and dry, The Hudson presented a detailed and interesting account of both the history and the cultural significance of this geographic region of the United States. I learned a lot about this area.
Charlie Ackerman
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent narrative and history lesson of this fine river.
Sep 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Good book for Hudson's 400th.
Matt Miltenberg
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Interesting because I was on a NY History kick but not interesting enough to make me finish the book.
Donna Lee
Aug 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Took a bit to get into but once I did, I was enchanted. I was left wanting to know more about this national treasure. Fascinating!
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
This will no doubt serve as the blueprint for the inevitable PBS documentary. Decent survey of Hudson history, but rarely ranging far afield from things with which you're already familiar.
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