by Edwin G. & Mike Wallace Burrows ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 1998
A suitably vast, sprawling, and all-consuming history of the rapid evolution of New York City from primordial forest into the world's most fabulous city. According to Burrows (History/Brooklyn College) and Wallace (History/John Jay College), from its earliest days the city (then New Amsterdam) displayed the restlessness, violent energy, and ethnic diversity that characterize the mature New York City (or Gotham, as it was later dubbed, after an English village traditionally noted both for the folly and for the sharp practices of its people). Linking economic, cultural, demographic, and political history, the authors trace the city's development from a peripheral Dutch frontier post through its growth into a vital shipping point in the British mercantile system. After the Revolution, most of which New York spent miserably under British military occupation, the city assumed its role as America's premier seaport, equally important to the prosperity of the English manufacturing sector, the cotton interests of the South, and the agriculture of the developing Midwest. And after the Civil War, New York developed into the prime engine of the nation's industrialization and capital growth, the world's financial center, and the principal portal through Which immigrants entered the New World. Along the way the authors introduce a crazy quilt of characters from the political, industrial, cultural, and literary worlds, and from the underworld as well: the pious but dictatorial Petrus Stuyvesant, the allegedly transvestite royal governor Lord Combury, Captain Kidd, Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt, Washington Irving, Thomas Edison, Jacob Riis. By 1898, the monster child of the Dutch East India Company, centered in Manhattan, had absorbed Brooklyn, Queens, Richmond, and the Bronx to become the Greater City of New York--one of the world's largest and most important cities. Magisterial, colorful, meticulously researched, and richly detailed; destined to be the definitive history of early New York City.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998
Page Count: 1416
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1998
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