For thousands of years prior to Henry Hudson’s voyage, the Hudson River was a vital commercial and strategic route for the indigenous peoples who settled near its banks. The river’s importance continued for centuries afterward, linking the great trading center of Manhattan with remote places upstate and beyond. In Revolutionary times, the successful struggle for the Hudson was key to American victory over the power of the British military. The Hudson River railroad succeeded earlier modes of transportation in the Hudson Valleythe river sloop, the Albany Post Road, the steamboat, and the Erie Canal. The Hudson Line was both an early product of America’s industrial age and a catalyst for the intense and complex developments of that age. The advent of photography coincided with the inauguration of the Hudson River railroad, and American photographers were on-hand to witness and record the progress of commerce and community in the villages, towns, and cities along the Hudson River Line.
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The photography in this gorgeous book is truly remarkable. Each vista harkens of a bygone era in such a way that evokes within readers a deep respect and admiration for the profound ingenuity of the human spirit. Despite its somewhat misleading title, the book's appeal is not at all limited to train enthusiasts, as it delves more into the nitty gritty of life in the Hudson River communities "back in the day". Steiner's careful research and intimate relationship with the time and setting of the subject shines through and his narration adeptly aids readers as they undoubtedly excitedly scan and search the photos for sights, locations, and experiences that resonate with their own personal knowledge and memories. Indeed, Steiner's contagious enthusiasm for his subject spreads as he gives voice to each photo, sharing and pointing out little-known details and gems of information that bring each picture life anew. This book will be readily appreciated by those interested in history and in the Hudson River areas.
I especially liked this book because I live on the Hudson Line. The cover photo is of my station.