Customer Reviews for

New York

Average Rating 4
( 526 )
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(204)

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(54)

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(31)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

26 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

Masterful

I bought it while I was at the airport in London and couldn't put it down on the way back to the States. Just as engrossing as it is interesting, NEW YORK is hands down Rutherfurd's best novel. The characters are compelling and fascinating and the stories are deeply poi...
I bought it while I was at the airport in London and couldn't put it down on the way back to the States. Just as engrossing as it is interesting, NEW YORK is hands down Rutherfurd's best novel. The characters are compelling and fascinating and the stories are deeply poignant. Truly a pleasure to read.

posted by QualityBooks on October 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Could have been so much better

As a new yorker I was interested in this book for obvious reasons. Unfortunately I was left disappointed. Too much of the book was written from a white old money perspective. The brief references to diverse cultures were hollow and left me feeling like I was reading an...
As a new yorker I was interested in this book for obvious reasons. Unfortunately I was left disappointed. Too much of the book was written from a white old money perspective. The brief references to diverse cultures were hollow and left me feeling like I was reading an immigrants story from a white rich man's perspective. The author seemed to lose steam towards the end, but I can't blame him- writing 500 years of history is a monumental task. I found myself wishing the book would end already. This book had a lot of potential but fell flat, but i still think it was worth reading.

posted by annijojo on July 9, 2011

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  • Posted October 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Masterful

    I bought it while I was at the airport in London and couldn't put it down on the way back to the States. Just as engrossing as it is interesting, NEW YORK is hands down Rutherfurd's best novel. The characters are compelling and fascinating and the stories are deeply poignant. Truly a pleasure to read.

    26 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Gripping, Thrilling, Touching - The best book I've read in a long time!

    The problem I have with most new popular fiction is that it's either too sappy, too gory, or too boring and predictable. "New York-The Novel" kept me riveted throughout. Calling it "historical fiction" does not do it justice. It is a rich tapestry woven from several separate stories with intimate details of a series of people's lives as they cope with the challenges and moral dilemmas of their respective eras, from the Dutch fur trader living in early 1600s New Amsterdam, through several generations of his family as they experience the takeover by English merchants and slave traders, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, several waves of immigration,the Great Depression, all the way through to September 11, 2001 and beyond. The reader experiences firsthand what it was like to live in New York at various points over the last four centuries through the eyes of descendants of that first fur trader, as well as through the eyes of people whose ancestors first arrived in New York as slaves, as Irish,Italian,and Jewish immigrants, and as transplants from Puerto Rico. The various characters encounter a number of historical figures: from Benjamin Franklin and George Washington,to the Astors, the Vanderbilts and JP Morgan, to Louis Armstrong, to Rudy Giuliani.More importantly, in one way or another, the lives of all these richly drawn characters intertwine with members of the other families. Having been privy to the struggles of the modern day characters' great-great-great-great- grandparents, the reader often has an better understanding of what drives these individuals even more than they do themselves, and how much their triumphs really mean in the light of what prevous generations had to suffer through for them to be able to be what they are today. One reason some people avoid reading "historical fiction" is that they "already know what's going to happen". You know that the Redcoats will be coming. You know the stock market is going to crash.You know the Dodgers are going to leave for California. You know exactly what time the Towers are going to collapse. And yet..."New York-The Novel" manages to be suspenseful and thrilling, because you come to know and care about the characters, and what you DON'T know is what is going to happen to them as individuals as history inexorably marches on. Each character in their own way is flawed, and yet somehow, heroic. "New York-The Novel" will make you laugh, will make you cry, would make a great HBO miniseries, but beyond all that, it is the story of a city and the people that made it what it is today. After reading it, you will never look at the New York skyline, or Times Square, or Wall Street quite the same way again.

    22 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2009

    Really enjoyed it

    I had never read a Rutherfurd book before, but I was able to nab this new one on my way back from a business trip and found it to be really interesting. Very intelligently written and a great read. With all the news about Wall Street these days that you almost forget how amazing the history of New York City is. Would highly recommend picking it up--I'm planning on sending several out to the Christmas list.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    Excellent Book...

    Absolutely loved this book. If you into historical fiction, this one is for you. He is a great author. All of his books are just great.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Thorough History

    This book is a wonderful look at the history of New York from its inception. As a history teacher, I knew the facts. Rutherford takes the facts and makes them interesting and even arresting. Some of the best historical fiction I have read recently.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    New York, author Edward Rutherfurd

    I have just finished the novel New York by Edward Rutherfurd and as in each of Rutherfurds previous novels I found it to be enlightening, factual, as well as entertaining. As a student of History in my opinion Rutherfurd never fails to reveal so much factual History, that I was not aware of and then make the historical facts so much more entertaining with his cast of fictional charachter's which he intermingles with true historical figures of their time.
    My first Rutherfurd Read was Sarum and that rendering caused me to become an addicted Edward Rutherfurd fan, and with the finish of each additional novel I am forced to suffer the wait until his next rendering. Please don't keep me waiting for very long Edward.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    New York: Sneaky History Lessons

    Teachers always had to trick me into learning, especially if I thought I might have to work at absorbing the subject matter at hand. This tome (not nearly as scary as it sounds) by Edward Rutherford did an excellent job of this, simply by being rich in casual details. So many little things: early in the narrative, the author mentions that there is a farm on Manhattan owned by a man with the last name of Jonkers. We realize that, in Dutch, it would've been pronounced "Yonkers," and voila! We have the modern name, pronounced the same but with "updated" spelling, of that section of the present version of this grand city. We suddenly understand that we still have with us, in a sense, the original Jonkers farm. Pretty tricky! And the author did not beat me over the head with a sledge hammer to make the point. I was able to absorb the fact in passing, just as I was able to absorb the fact that this book is not about the individual (fictional) characters we meet, but about the sweep of history that this now uber-urban setting has behind it.

    The book continues in this way, introducing new characters as they are born and following them in the format of a loose family tree stretching across the centuries of its development. And while you might expect the experience to be like watching Orson Welles's "Citizen Kane" followed by the interminable "Magnificent Ambersons" (award-winning though both those films be), it only feels that way if you try to treat the book like a beach novel meant to be read in the course of a single sunburn. Divided as it is into time-based chapters, the book is easy to put down, as necessary, and pick up again without losing the thread. Thus, the episodic nature of the subject is easily assimilated in short doses over time. No need to sunburn at all.

    In a way, you might liken the experience to reading a public television series, but far more convenient. You will come out of it knowing more than you realize about the US's grandest city and how it came to be that way. By the time you finish this book, it will be entirely logical and sensible that a backwater, swampy island worth but a pile of beads layed out by early explorer-settlers in the 16th century became the most revered (and feared and hated) metropolis in the entire world by the 20th century.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    Could have been so much better

    As a new yorker I was interested in this book for obvious reasons. Unfortunately I was left disappointed. Too much of the book was written from a white old money perspective. The brief references to diverse cultures were hollow and left me feeling like I was reading an immigrants story from a white rich man's perspective. The author seemed to lose steam towards the end, but I can't blame him- writing 500 years of history is a monumental task. I found myself wishing the book would end already. This book had a lot of potential but fell flat, but i still think it was worth reading.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing, if you love New York...

    From the very first page to the last, a totally engrossing mix of actual history along with a story to a few families whose lives had been entwined through out the decades. I live near Manhattan, so I found this book to be so informative, made me say to myself "So thats how it got it's name" A wonderful read, so happy I had taken the opportunity to read this one.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book

    If you love New York you will love this book. If you don't like New York you will like it a little more.
    The book is the history of New York City from the Dutch through modern day. Several families inter twine through the years. Great historical fiction.
    I was skepticle, due to the books size (over 790 nook pages) that it would hold my interest, but I found that it was hard to put down and I was sorry to see it end.
    I highly recommend this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Worth the read

    I first learned of this book on The Daily Beast's Hot Books of the Week feature- having never read any of Rutherford's other books I wasn't sure what to expect. I admit I had a hard time getting started on this book and actually started it, put it aside, read a couple of other books and then came back to it. I am certainly glad I picked it up again and had the opportunity to read this book. I thought it was wonderful. My only complaint is that the attention paid to all the different time periods was a bit uneven- Rutherford devoted a great deal of time to the early eras of New York but as the book wound down it seems that the latter eras were not explored as thoroughly but overall I would have to say this was one of my favorite books of the year.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2011

    new york, a book for aspiring new yorkers where ever you are

    this is an excellent read and has unearthed lots of facts about the history anc culture of the city i never knew. its very fast moving and yet subtle in its approach to character development. i loved it. o

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    Excellent

    Rutherford has long been my favorite author of historical fiction and this was one of his best. New York was a compelling read from the beginning and made the city come alive.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Must Read

    I have not finished "New York," but I am thoroughly enjoying it. I am relearning some of the history I've forgotten through the eyes of well-drawn characters. The thoughtfulness and research done by Edward Rutherfurd in his books is awesome.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Horray for New York

    Great read with old fashioned page turning. What a wonderful read for a cold, winter night...the only problem it is hard to put down. I didn't like London, but I loved New York. Maybe, because I'm a New Yorker but for those who aren't, what a great introduction to the greatest city.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2009

    Excellent historical fiction.

    As are other books I've read by this author, this book is easy to read, engaging and a fun way to learn some background about an area. The fictional characters mix the the historical seamlessly. An excellent way to spend some time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    I have to judge this book in two capacities, one that it succeed

    I have to judge this book in two capacities, one that it succeeds in, and one that in my opinion it fails. What this book is very successful at is being a history of the city of New York, which is kind of the point after all. I have never been to NY myself, so I'm sure that there is a lot that I missed out on, or didn't have the same amount of appreciation for as a real NYer would. Still, it is very interesting starting at the beginning when NY was just a small Dutch settlement and going throughout history all the way up to today and seeing how NY was impacted during all the historical events. The Revolutionary War in particular was a great section of the book being that NY played a crucial part in that conflict.
    While New York is represented well, where the book fails is as a novel. The book is over 850 pages, but there really isn't an overarching story. Basically you just follow the Master family all the way through, generation from generation, with a few other families thrown in at times to mix things up. The problem is that since the book covers such a huge time range, no single character sticks around for more than 100 pages or so (usually fewer than that) and then you move on to the children of those characters. Just when you are starting to get to know the current characters, you leap forward in time and those characters are dead and you are following the children of those characters, and that continues on and on through the whole book. I found it very difficult to care after awhile about getting to know the current protagonist, because I knew that it wouldn't be long before the story jumps forward and I'm moving on to a new main character. That last couple hundred pages were really a slog for me, knowing that the same pattern I had just been reading for 500 pages wasn't going to change, and that nothing exciting was really going to happen. I guess September 11th serves as a climax to the book, but from a character standpoint I just didn't care. It was very interesting reading what it must have been like to be in NY on that day, but again that is the book succeeding as a history of NY, not a novel. As a novel, I didn't care because there was no drama. If the characters lived or died during the terrorist attacks didn't matter because they are only 1 or 2 characters out of the 50 I've met, some of whom have already died tragically so so what if a couple more do as well..
    Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I just wasn't entertained. I was fascinated with the idea of taking a family and following them through the generations in NY as it becomes more and more modernized, but in the end that was the downfall. The writing is good, but the gimmick just doesn't work. You spend enough time with the characters to have any kind of vested interest in their livelihoods, and by the time your halfway through it, you just stop caring and waiting for the next big historical event to come along to hopefully add some excitement. The closest thing to a frame narrative is seeing what happens to the Master family's wealth each generation (which leads to a lot of boring financial and stock-related discussions at times) and seeing the wampum belt (family heirloom) pop up once in awhile.
    I haven't read any of Rutherfurd's other books, but I know he writes similar books about other cities which I won't be spending time on. I would like what a normal novel of his would be like, because he is a talented writer on the prose level. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    Great History of New York - Maybe a Little Too Long

    Really enjoyed the American history refresher, the characters, and the interwoven families - even generations later when they were unaware of it. But I felt like the last chapters were rushed, lacking detail and depth, almost as if the author was rushing to finish with 9/11. Paris was much better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Good, but not Russka, Sarum, or London

    Good read, but in my opinion not as compelling or as well researched as his other stellar books. Grant at Gettysburg? Wow, the editors were asleep on that one

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Awesome? AWESOME

    A page turner i loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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