Historian and travel writer Sandler gives us an account of the life and legacy of the early 17th-century English explorer for whom the Hudson River is named. Not much is known about Hudson's early life; he made his mark on the historical record when he took charge of a 1607 expedition for the Muscovy Company. He's most famous, however, for the 1609 expedition in which he explored New York Harbor and the eponymous river. Still, Hudson was not an unmitigated success: four of his expeditions failed, and arguably his leadership sparked three mutinies, the last culminating in his mysterious death. Although Sandler admits that ""we know very little about Hudson,"" he has stitched together a rich book, situating the adventurer's exploits in a larger story about politics and imperialism, underscoring the economic motives behind Hudson's daring quests. Sandler traveled to the places Hudson discovered and describes how those locales developed in the ensuing centuries; for example, he investigates the pollution of the Hudson with PCBs and other substances by General Electric. Indeed, this isn't a biography of a man so much as a biography of the landscapes he explored, creating a quirky and satisfying blend of history, reporting and travel writing. B& w illus., maps."" (Apr.)"" .