Frances F. Dunwell presents a rich portrait of the Hudson and of the visionary people whose deep relationship with the river inspires changes in American history and culture. Lavishly illustrated with color plates of Hudson River School paintings, period engravings, and glass plate photography, The Hudson captures the spirit of the river through the eyes of its many admirers. It shows the crucial role of the Hudson in the shaping of Manhattan, the rise of the Empire State, and the trajectory of world trade and global politics, as well as the river's influence on art and architecture, engineering, and conservation.
Dunwell, who has worked for 30 years to conserve the Hudson and its cultural heritage, tells the story of the magical river that has been central to New York's power and to the history of the United States. Beginning with the Native Americans who lived near the Hudson, Dunwell follows the river through the centuries, describing the painters-like Thomas Cole-who found in the river inspiration for great art and the Civilian Conservation Corps's work to build recreational facilities during the Great Depression. Covering the Hudson through space as well as time, Dunwell ranges from the building of the Erie Canal to the erection of the Statue of Liberty, and the Gilded Age estates of J.P. Morgan and Jay Gould. She pays particular attention to the tension between harnessing the Hudson's economic potential and preserving its natural beauty. Dunwell indulges in grandiose statements (the river's forts "assume the importance of Grecian temples") and boosterism ("Can a person make a difference? The answer is yes"). But with the book's dozens of illustrations and a moving foreword by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as bonuses, people who love the Hudson will love this book. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information