Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898

Gotham A History of New York City to To European explorers it was Eden a paradise of waist high grasses towering stands of walnut maple chestnut and oak and forests that teemed with bears wolves raccoons beavers otters and fo

  • Title: Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898
  • Author: MikeWallace Edwin G. Burrows
  • ISBN: 9780195140491
  • Page: 367
  • Format: Paperback
  • To European explorers, it was Eden, a paradise of waist high grasses, towering stands of walnut, maple, chestnut, and oak, and forests that teemed with bears, wolves, raccoons, beavers, otters, and foxes Today, it is the site of Broadway and Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, and the home of millions of people, who have come from every corneTo European explorers, it was Eden, a paradise of waist high grasses, towering stands of walnut, maple, chestnut, and oak, and forests that teemed with bears, wolves, raccoons, beavers, otters, and foxes Today, it is the site of Broadway and Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, and the home of millions of people, who have come from every corner of the nation and the globe In Gotham, Edwin G Burrows and Mike Wallace have produced a monumental work of history, one that ranges from the Indian tribes that settled in and around the island of Manna hata, to the consolidation of the five boroughs into Greater New York in 1898 It is an epic narrative, a story as vast and as varied as the city it chronicles, and it underscores that the history of New York is the story of our nation Readers will relive the tumultuous early years of New Amsterdam under the Dutch West India Company, Peter Stuyvesant s despotic regime, Indian wars, slave resistance and revolt, the Revolutionary War and the defeat of Washington s army on Brooklyn Heights, the destructive seven years of British occupation, New York as the nation s first capital, the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, the Erie Canal and the coming of the railroads, the growth of the city as a port and financial center, the infamous draft riots of the Civil War, the great flood of immigrants, the rise of mass entertainment such as vaudeville and Coney Island, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the birth of the skyscraper Here too is a cast of thousands the rebel Jacob Leisler and the reformer Joanna Bethune Clement Moore, who saved Greenwich Village from the city s street grid plan Herman Melville, who painted disillusioned portraits of city life and Walt Whitman, who happily celebrated that same life We meet the rebel Jacob Leisler and the reformer Joanna Bethune Boss Tweed and his nemesis, cartoonist Thomas Nast Emma Goldman and Nellie Bly Jacob Riis and Horace Greeley police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt Colonel Waring and his white angels who revolutionized the sanitation department millionaires John Jacob Astor, Cornelius Vanderbilt, August Belmont, and William Randolph Hearst and hundreds who left their mark on this great city The events and people who crowd these pages guarantee that this is no mere local history It is in fact a portrait of the heart and soul of America, and a book that will mesmerize everyone interested in the peaks and valleys of American life as found in the greatest city on earth Gotham is a dazzling read, a fast paced, brilliant narrative that carries the reader along as it threads hundreds of stories into one great blockbuster of a book.

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    About "MikeWallace Edwin G. Burrows"

    1. MikeWallace Edwin G. Burrows

      A graduate of Columbia University, Mike Wallace is Distinguished Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, where he has taught since 1971, and director of the Gotham Center for New York City History He won the Pulitzer Prize for History for his book Gotham A History of New York City to 1898 and is the founder, co publisher and editor of the Radical History Review.


    1. I am loving this book. This is the way I always wanted to read history. Not just the battles or the politics but what were the people doing? Why did they think what they did? What were they reacting to? First hand perpectives give a real view of what it was like. How the power shifted back and forth over the course of history. How "the greatest city in the world" fit into the history of the world, from its very beginning. I can't even imagine the research that went into this 1400 page volume. Re [...]

    2. My son, Shannon, a resident of Chelsea gave me this book two years ago. As a Southern Californian, I was not in a hurry to read a "New York" book. I also put it off because of it's bulk(1236 pages!!). When I finally got around to it, I found it absolutely riveting. It is far more than merely a history of New York. It is a history of America from the perspective of New York, written with great humor. Unfortunately it only takes us up to 1898, and it took the authors Edwin G Burrows and Mike Walla [...]

    3. A truly monumental romp through the first 275 years of the world's most monumental city, although I'm probably biased, since I was born in Brooklyn and now live in Manhattan. I began reading this book several years ago, put it down for a while, and picked it up again a few months ago. The narrative thread is enlightening, although the book can also be used as a reference volume with respect to certain events, epochs, and personalities. And, oh, what personalities! Outsized, egomaniacal, visionar [...]

    4. "Gotham" by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace earns its name, not just because of its subject but because of its heft at more than 1200 pages. The coverage is exhausting, the reading of sources nuanced; this is no straight trajectory to the top for America's best-loved and most-vilified city. In a modification of the adage originally attributed to Balzac, perhaps beneath every astonishing city is a crime, and New York was no stranger to its country's original sin. The useful myth that Peter Minu [...]

    5. Just flat out an outstanding history book. Reading this book has been a labor of love that has taken a few years because there is so much information and analysis packed into it. It may seem to cover a limited topic, New York City to 1898, but the authors cover a lot of topics in great depth and there are connections to broader trends in the US and the world. I appreciated how much I learned about New York City - the loco-focos, the b'hoys and so on. I think what was most interesting was how muc [...]

    6. This is THE definitive history of New York. As with a few other rare books I put this in a category all it's own. An enriching masterpiece for everyone who reads it.

    7. This book is above all a great testament to the overall high level of current American historical writing and academic research. While Burrows and Wallace have unquestionably written a great work of synthesis history, they obviously could not have achieved such an excellence if that there had not been an extraordinary collection of monographs to synthesize. Hats off to Burrows, Wallace and the academics producing excellent studies on narrow topics.I devoted roughly one quarter of my undergraduat [...]

    8. The better part of six months later I feel a little like I've survived a siege, and a little less like having finished a book. A 1236-page siege. This was the first book I read primarily on my Kindle. It was a significant reason for buying the Kindle. If I had to haul the book around on airplanes I wouldn't have gotten done nearly as fast as I did. Definitely a good investment.The history itself was comprehensive, repetitive, and altogether corrupt. One political party to another. Prosperity to [...]

    9. No other history of NYC even comes close to this. And I don't just mean in thoroughness. The writing is so easy and smooth while at the same detailing complicated events and casts of characters. Those who write often know that to be able to write this way is extremely hard. If it weren't written this way, no one could slog through it. Also, the structure of the book could not have been better. To write something this huge it is necessary to compartmentalize, but keeping the compartmentalization [...]

    10. "Whew!", I have finally finished it.I have been wrestling in my mind between whether giving this book 4 stars or 5 stars when I neared the end of this book (when I was around page 500 or so, I picked up steam in completing it during the last few days). The 4 star rating appeared appropriate at a time when I felt that I was never going to near the end of this book, that I have taken up a task of Sysiphian proportions. But then I realized I was rating a book not on it's merits, but on the attitude [...]

    11. Okay, so let's get this out of the way up front: this book is very, very large and intimidating. It took me over twelve years to muster the courage to read it. I picked it up in 2003, wanting to read a really good history of New York City, and for all that time it sat on my shelf, taunting me.So I finally read it. And it is indeed great.Here's the thing about Gotham - while there are almost certainly more comprehensive histories of the founding of New Amsterdam, the Revolutionary War, the New Yo [...]

    12. To the people who only gave this book two stars: I wish you would write a review and let us know why!I read this book over a lazy summer, and have never been more fascinated by a work of non-fiction. Burrows and Wallace profile the city from its "discovery" by white men to the bustle of the 1890s. They discuss almost every conceivable aspect of the city with humour and insightful research, providing us with astonishing statistics, fascinating quotes from the time, and a comprehensive scope that [...]

    13. The Parade magazine review kind of nails it (in addition to being a wonderful passive-aggressive bit of urbophobia): "If NYC is a great city, then it deserves a great book". This book actually is crucial reading even if your own personal jury is up in the air about whether NY is Bablyon/Sodom/Cloud City/pick a master urban metaphor. This ish jumpstarted my love affair with america. DOWNTOWN PRINT IT. Fun fact: this book has taken me most of four months to finish (as a bedtime reading book, but s [...]

    14. An epic book. At 1,250 pages, this book takes a LONG time to read. It is worth it. It provides a full and comprehensive history of New York City from 1624-1898. Well written and informative, any lover of New York City should read it. Most importantly, reading this behemoth feels like an achievement.

    15. This remarkable re-discovery of the ins and outs of New York in its infancy and early teens. If you love modern New York, you owe it to yourself to buy this book and leave it by your bedside. Leafing through it will make every encounter with today's New York feel like a shadow of the real New York, New York before it was captured by the skyscrapers.

    16. Am I crazy for reading a 1300+ page on the history of NYC only up till 1898? Maybe, but this is so going on my resume. Update: I finally finished this book. One word: Mindblowing!!

    17. In this exhaustive and comprehensive history of New York City from the period of Lenape habitation to its founding as New Amsterdam all the way to 1898, when the five boroughs were incorporated into a greater New York, Burrows and Wallace argued that NYC has nearly always been the center of American urban life. The book is divided into five sections. Part one looks at its history prior to European settlers, opening with the “Founding City Myth” of Manhattan being sold for $24, when the truth [...]

    18. A very thorough look at the history of New York City up to 1898. There's probably too much here in one volume for a person to digest. AT over 1,400 pages it can be used as a door stop. Some topics were less interesting to me than others. There is plenty of talk about labor and the conditions of labor in the city throughout the book. Some topics on the other hand are hardly mentioned. They include scant reference or information about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Granted there is an excell [...]

    19. It took me 8 months but I finally finished this! It's a really really thorough history of NYC and most of it is pretty fascinating. It can drag a little but it is 1200 pages so that's expected

    20. I thoroughly enjoyed this volume of history, although I must admit I have had this book for many years and had many stops & starts. Looking forward to starting ‘Greater Gotham’.

    21. It took me quite a while to read this book - several years, in fact. I was determined to read it through to the end, primarily because it was co-written by my second cousin. I am proud of my association with this Pulitzer Prize winning historian, and I am proud to have read the length of this book, a panoramic overview of the history of New York City from its earliest times up until the 20th century, and the creation of the metropolis out of what were formerly independent communities.I am at a l [...]

    22. The book goes into details of political campaigns, the day to day lives of various segments of the population, and how the city was built geographically. Makes you feel like you're actually there, observing the city at each stage of its history. Just be warned that it's really really long.

    23. This huge tome is highly readable and engaging. Although probably easier to relate to for those who have lived for significant periods in the city of New York, this non-New Yorker found it fascinating. I especially enjoyed the sections on the colonial and early federal period, but also appreciated the deep analysis of the evolution of the city as a center for commerce, finance, immigration, and political development. The first in a multi-part history, this well-researched and documented work car [...]

    24. I couldn't have planned it better if I'd tried: I ended my reading year with this Pulitzer Prize-winning tome, finishing the last of the 1,400-odd pages just a week before I hop a plane to NYC herself. Although there were times I despaired of finishing on time (or finishing at all - it took me two months to read this, which is unheard of in my world), I am SO GLAD I read it. It's deepened my appreciation for the history of NYC so incredibly much, and I learned so many random things - about the m [...]

    25. Burrows and Wallace provide the definitive account on the history of New York City up until the merge of the boroughs into present day Manhattan. Tracing history from its Dutch beginnings, to the English take over, as a seat of revolutionary power and finally finding its place as the financial capital of the United States and eventually the world. The book is detailed and focuses not only on the urban development and political development, but social and demographic changes as well. It is primar [...]

    26. What a terrific history.Daunting in its density, it's a complete— and I mean COMPLETE— accounting of New York City with lessons completely applicable to today.Interested in learning the impetus of today's financial markets? Check.The ebbs and flows of immigration and nativist inclinations? Check.The newspaper business, literature and mass media advertising? Check.Women's and reproductive rights? Check.Gay rights? Check.Racial equality/inequality? Check.Labor relations? Check.Politics and pol [...]

    27. 2nd read. wow - this is a massive work - not just its size and type but the authors fastidiously cover centuries of time in recounting the history of New York city. I read this when it first came out and it contains so much information that rereading it was almost like starting anew. The authors write engagingly and overall with succinct information, building upon multiple details and interests. So at times perhaps one might be less involved in some of the political machinations of the city but [...]

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