Place this ecological, conservationist-minded study alongside Carl Carmer's The Hudson for a popular sounding of the Hudson's waters and wayfarers -- but it's not to be confused with the much less successful Mylord's Biography of a River (p. 913). ""The Hudson nowadays is-really not a single continuous river, but a half dozen or so different bodies of water stitched together."" Trout stream, ""bass and pike river,"" a canal, septic tank, estuary and seaport, the Hudson is actually a ""drowned river,"" having been washed with sea water from melted glaciers. Mr. Boyle cruises up and down the Hudson, in time, and in barely concealed rage at the death, destruction and waste dealt out to marine life in and by the Hudson, and he has a fine kettle of information about fish and fishing (there never were salmon!). A large grim-to-gleeful chapter is concerned with the controversial Storm King power plant proposal by Consolidated Edison (the ""Tammany Hall of power utilities"") and the lengthy court battles. Moving down to Manhattan, Mr. Boyle gives out the discouraging word that the West Side alone pours a staggering amount of ""absolutely raw sewage"" into the Hudson each day, but amazingly enough quite a variety of marine life manages to push through it. Mr. Boyle offers many sensible nostrums for the ""hellish"" mess, and New Yorkers, fishermen, naturalists and conservationists may well take note.