Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898
Edwin G. Burrows, Mike Wallace
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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 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 more 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.
little Greek and Latin and spoke at least one modern language besides English—hopefully French. For recreation, gentlemen rode and hunted while their ladies did needlework; both danced gracefully and played cards competently. Both, too, paid close attention to appearances: they kept their bodies clean, they wore fresh and fashionable clothing, they lived in commodious and agreeably furnished houses. Notwithstanding Dr. Hamilton’s verdict on the Hungarian Club, there had always been handfuls of
later when Burk and Crady broke out of jail and escaped to Pennsylvania. Writing as “One of the People,” lawyer William Keteltas (a youthful newcomer from Poughkeepsie) wrote an account of their ordeals for Thomas Greenleaf Journal. Keteltas denounced the court for its “tyranny and partiality.” Burk and Crady had been punished, he said, merely to “gratify the pride, the ambition and insolence of men in office.” The accusation stung, coming at a time when the mayor and aldermen were under fire for
Society, the institutional church, YWCA, ethical culture, settlement houses, Howells and Crane, Jacob Riis. 67. Good Government Collapse of the economy in 1893. Genteel and business reformers capture City Hall in 1894. Eastern sound-money forces, headquartered in NYC, beat back western challenge to corporate order in 1896 presidential campaign. 68. Splendid Little War Teddy Roosevelt, José Marti, William Randolph Hearst, and Empire as Rx for depression. 69. Imperial City Manhattan, Brooklyn,
1857, little more than a month after the Dead Rabbits riot, the New York branch of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company suddenly closed its doors. It soon transpired that the putatively rock-solid institution had been deftly looted by its manager, Edwin C. Ludlow. Worse, it had made loans with abandon to speculators playing the stock market—and done some gambling itself in railroad stocks, which had been gliding steadily downward. Since the Crimean War had ended the previous year—restoring
colony couldn’t survive without prompt and substantial help.) The States-General asked for peace and offered to return all conquered territories, including New Netherland. Charles II, himself nearly bankrupt and under intense pressure from Parliament to recover the colony, agreed. A formal treaty of peace was signed in February 1674. When rumors of the sellout reached Manhattan several months later, the Dutch were incredulous. Some, in “a distracted rage and passion,” hurled “curses and