40th volume in the Rivers of America, this tells the story of the Potomac, rising in the Appalachians, flowing along the line between Maryland and Virginia, emptying into Chesapeake Bay. This volume has less history as such, more of the flavor and atmosphere of people and places. It begins with the raw new capital to which John Adams came in 1800, goes back over the story of early settlers, sea captains, traders, Indians, the Tidewater planters and their society, the Valley farmers, the river route to the West, and the opening up with canals and the railroads; the Civil War; commerce and industry, etc. Then the story returns again to the infant city, the planning and achievements, the extension of government activities after the Civil War, recent building and development, pen portraits of life in Washington at different periods. More general in reader interest than some of the more sharply regional volumes.