The latest in the Rivers of America series, which features not only the people, the country, the culture, but primarily the history of the region of the Chagres which now holds the Panama Canal. The author traces the story of the Isthmus, from Indian days to the landing of Columbus, and on through the period of Spanish colonization under Balboa and the cruelty of Pedrarias, the avarice of Pizarro which paved the road of gold from Peru and won for the Spanish the undying hatred of the natives. Following the conquistadores the English came, with Drake and Morgan's pillage of Spanish cities, but the Isthmus did not fall under British rule and later became a field for American investments. Its final phases of development are marked by the first railroad, sparked by the '49 gold rush, the ill-fated French attempt- and then our successful one- in the building of the canal. Interesting, informative and at all times readable.