The Iroquois called it ""the beautiful valley."" Cities have grown up in it, industries have flourished and waned, generations have been born and died, and still the river flows through the valley on its perambulating course northward -- north at all costs, north despite terrestrial upheavals and all the obstacles the ingenuity of man may devise. Clune has lived beside this redoubtable river (as regularly as March arrives, at least three small communities are flooded out) and knows its past and present well enough to make the facts entertaining. Legends have grown up around the names of Mary Jemison, Seth Green (""the Father of Fish Culture""), the Iron Duke and John L. Sullivan, and Sam Patch (who died leaping the Upper Falls in search of the ""bubble reputation""). Land speculation, canals, commercial boating, and the profitable activities of entrepreneurs like William P. Letehworth, Harry Sinclair, the Wadsworth family, and George Eastman have been equally a part of valley life. One of an extensive series on the Rivers of America, edited by Carl Carmer, The Genesee can stand by itself as a pleasant companion for an evening by the fire.