The James River is the centerpiece of Richmond, but by the mid-twentieth century it had been abused and neglected. Eagles and sturgeon had nearly disappeared, water-powered industry was abandoning it and the river was a sewer. Today, the river draws visitors to its wooded shorelines, restored canal and feisty rapids. At the local level, this transformation was the result of citizen action, public-private partnerships, difficult decisions by governmental leaders and the hard work of thousands of passionate advocates and volunteers. Local author and lifelong river watcher Ralph Hambrick chronicles the events, projects and controversies that brought about the dramatic change and lends a critical eye to the results.