River lore and memorabilia served up in the author's professionally gusty style, this is yet another in the publisher's ""Rivers of America"" series. Now ""the world's most spectacular sewer,"" the Niagara was in times past ""one of America's two most political rivers."" Initially the politics consisted of defrauding the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy who lived along its shores of their land with the aid of a liberal flow of brandy and innumerable slapdash battles between the still-loyal subjects of King George and the fur traders of La Nouvelle France who built and burned forts (one named ""The House of Peace"") during the Seven Years' War. Later episodes included the heroics of Winfield Scott and Commodore Perry in 1812, the madcap ""invasion"" of Upper Canada in 1837, and the post-Civil War foray of some innovative Fenians who planned to seize Canada from the British and hold it ransom for Ireland. Along with these and other historical bubbles Braider sprinkles the narrative with the antics of stuntmen who went down in barrels and over on tightropes and first impressions of the majestic falls as recorded by eminent tourists from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Nathaniel Hawthorne. ""No one knows why or when the tradition of honeymooning at Niagara Falls began or why it persists""; other effluvia can be gleaned but rowing your boat merrily down this stream is not recommended.