An exploration of the natural and human history of ten great rivers of North America and how they have impacted the human experience for millennia

(a brief video introduction is HERE)

You can buy the book HERE

(A portion of all proceeds will be donated to river conservation causes)

Praise for Rivers Run Through Us:

“An inspired and thoughtfully informed guided raft ride down the great rivers of North America.” —Robert W. Sandford, EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health and author of The Columbia Icefield, Our Vanishing Glaciers, The Anthropocene Disruption, Rain Comin’ Down: Water, Memory and Identity in a Changed World .

“Blending expert science, cultural history, and no small measure of valuable insights, Eric Taylor’s Rivers Run Through Us layers the geological history of watersheds with an account of short-sighted industrial development and its ecological consequences. His survey of a pattern of use and abuse common since the 19th century provides an intelligent and necessary foundation. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in how we have bent rivers to our will and transported ourselves to an era of water shortages, habitat loss, and species extinctions.” —Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, author of A River Captured: The Columbia River Treaty and Catastrophic Change.

“My new favorite book about rivers. Eric Taylor’s grand tour of major North American basins is socially and geographically perceptive.” —Laurence C. Smith, author of Rivers of Power and The World in 2050.

"Eric Taylor takes us deep into the nature and meaning of some of the most magnificent and important rivers on this continent. The science and writing are exceptional, and the timing is critical." —Kevin van Tighem, author of Heart Waters: Sources of the Bow River; Wild Roses Are Worth It: Reimagining the Alberta Advantage; Bears Without Fear.

"Taylor’s book is a masterpiece of scholarship with exhaustive appendices, an index and notes. Find your personal river and prepare for a wild ride." -John Gellard, BCBookLook


  • Foreward (by Mark Angelo, Founder and Chair, BC and World Rivers Day)
  • Introduction
  • One. The North American Family of Rivers
  • Two. The Mackenzie River: Two World Views
  • Three. The Yukon River: The Lure and Legacy of Gold
  • Four. The Fraser River: Sculptor of Biodiversity
  • Five. The Columbia River: Empire Builder.
  • Six. The Sacramento-San Joaquin River: A David vs. Goliath Water War
  • Seven. The Colorado River: Sacrificed
  • Eight. The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo: Life on the Other Side
  • Nine. The Mississippi River: The Body of The Nation
  • Ten. The Hudson River: Source of Inspriation
  • Eleven. The St. Lawrence River: Gateway to a Continent
  • Twelve. The Future of North America's Great Rivers
  • Appendices (i. comparative river statistics, ii. a rivers-themed musical play list)
  • Chapter Notes and Bibliography
  • Each chapter has detailed maps and thematic images
  • Description

    Rivers have been a central physical and ecological organizing force in driving the development of human civilization worldwide and in North America. The physical nature of rivers (direction of flow, age, size) has influenced the course of human history and development whether it be in the prosecution of major conflicts (US Civil War), patterns of development and social change (dams on the Columbia River), the economy (gold rushes, agricultural development), artistic expression (The Hudson River School of landscape art), or international relations (US and Mexico and the Colorado River). The centrality of human-river interactions has had great impacts on the biodiversity of rivers (salmon, and other threatened species) that have been the focus of historical and current intense conflicts of values (e.g., water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin system and California 'Water Wars' in general). After outlining the physical and human history of each river, my approach is to explore one issue for each river that illustrates the critical role of that river in human development in North America.

    A brief video describing the book can be viewed HERE.

    A more detailed discussion of the book and rivers in general can be found in the just released (Aug 8) Rising Laterally podcast or Youtube video with hosts Jay and Arjun.

    Exploring Rivers discussion on rivers by The Explorers Club (New York Chapter) celebrating World Rivers Day can be viewed HERE

    Faces of the Fraser talk at The Fraser River Discovery Centre, January 2022: watch HERE

  • World Rivers Day
  • International Rivers
  • Canadian Heritage Rivers
  • American Rivers
  • Contact EBT:


    Image: Yukon River (EBT), Hudson River (Wikimedia Commons), Thompson River (Fraser River basin, EBT)


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