The Hudson River Valley Institute

Home » Uncategorized » The History of the Hudson River Valley – From Wilderness to the Civil War

The History of the Hudson River Valley – From Wilderness to the Civil War


Upcoming readings & signings:

Saturday May 31, 7:00 @ Inquiring Minds Bookstore (Saugerties)

Saturday June 14, 5:00 @ The Golden Notebook (Woodstock)

Saturday June 21, 1:45- 2:30@ Millbrook Literary Festival (History of the Hudson Valley panel)

Saturday June 28, 3:13 @ Town of Ulster Library


Combining historical record with anecdotes from the colorful characters who lived this history, Vernon Benjamin presents a book about the area U.S. Congress once called “the landscape that defined America.” Beginning with the Native American communities that first inhabited the Valley, through Henry Hudson’s Dutch-sponsored voyage up the river later named for him, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the rapid growth of metropolitan New York, and ending at the close of the Civil War, no previous text has traced the history of the Hudson River Valley in as comprehensive and entertaining a way as historian Vernon Benjamin’s expansive new book.

The History of the Hudson River Valley: From Wilderness to the Civil War (Overlook Press / Hardcover $45.00 / ISBN: 978-1-59020-079-7 / Publication Date: June 3, 2014) covers the depth of history to 1.2 billion years ago, from traces of zircon found in Rockland County stone up to President Abraham Lincoln’s somber multi-city funeral procession, all seen through the lens of one of America’s most historically and culturally important regions.

Mr. Benjamin, a historian, lecturer, and journalist, treats every subject in his book with careful consideration. This is not merely a well-researched account of American history, but a detailed look into every subject that residents, visitors, students, and historians of the Hudson River Valley could want to know about this significant and vibrant area. Topics include geology, paleontology, archaeology; aboriginal and Native American history; the Dutch and English periods; the American Revolution and U. S. Constitution ratification; the rise of the new nation and advance of the Industrial Revolution in all its permutations; West Point and a military history of the Valley; women’s history and the history of education; the cultural history of the Valley; a literary history that includes the first full review of Edgar Allen Poe’s life in the Valley; art history, including architecture and landscape design, that culminates in the Hudson River School of Art and its relationship to transcendentalism and American manifest destiny; African-American history in a level of detail never explored previously; and the march to the Civil War as it unfolded in the Hudson Valley.

Vernon Benjamin spent two decades working on The History of the Hudson River Valley. The first four-and-a-half years alone were spent solely on the research and early writing. The result of his passion project is a gift to the Hudson River Valley and its many residents and visitors: a book that carefully collects the stories of the land and its people and delivers them in an accessible and engaging way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Hours & Info

Mon.-Fri: 9am - 5pm
%d bloggers like this: