New York: An Illustrated History


This lavish and handsomely produced book captures all the beauty, complexity, and power of New York--the city that has seemed, from its beginnings, the very embodiment of ambition, aspiration, romance, and desire, the city that epitomizes, more than any other place on earth, the entire parade of modern life, with all its possibilities and problems. Chronicling the story of New York from its establishment in 1624 as a Dutch trading post to its global preeminence today, the book is at once the biography of a great city and a vivid exploration of the myriad forces--commercial, cultural, demographic--that converged in New York to usher in the contemporary world.

Weaving the many strands of the city's sweeping history into a single compelling narrative, New York embraces nearly four centuries of turbulent change and growth--from the first settlement on the southern end of the island of "Manna-hata" to the destruction wrought by the Revolutionary War; from the city's stunning emergence in the nineteenth century as the nation's premier industrial center to the waves of early-twentieth-century immigration that transformed forever the city and the nation; from New York's transfiguration as the world's first modern city--pioneering skyscrapers, subways, apartment houses, and highways--to its emergence as the supreme laboratory and testing ground of American popular culture. And we witness the building of the city's celebrated landmarks and institutions, from the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building and the United Nations, from Wall Street and Times Square to the Lower East Side, Harlem, and SoHo.

Chronicling New York City's turbulent growth from its establishment as a Dutch trading post in 1624 to its global preeminence today, this book brims with vibrant illustrations, including hundreds of rare photos, paintings, lithographs, prints, and period maps. The narrative combines the voices of statespersons, visionaries, and others who helped to build the city's landmarks and neighborhoods.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This companion to the PBS series by Ric Burns, James Sanders, and Lisa Ades is a beautiful illustrated testament to the power, charm, and beauty of the greatest city in the world. With 500 illustrations in black-and-white, it is a wonderful visual guided tour of both the past and the present of New York City.
New York Times
A ravishing book . . . It can easily fill a winter of reading and browsing.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A companion to an upcoming PBS series, this lavishly illustrated history is an engaging and intelligent work in its own right, presenting a coherent overview without ever glossing over thorny historical or political questions. By supplementing their well-researched text with photographs, paintings, newspaper headlines and interviews with historians and social critics, Burns The Civil War, with Ken Burns and Sanders have produced a volume that is as attractive as it is perceptive. Arranged chronologically, the book manages to capture some of the diverse elements--such as the immigrant communities, labor unrest, traditional and avant-garde cultures, crime and architecture, among other factors--that continue to play important roles in the city's evolution. For example, the section on Greenwich Village, "The Republic of Washington Square," contains a succinct history of the area as a cultural engine, with rare photographs and illuminating quotes from Edmund Wilson and Floyd Dell. The section on the Harlem Renaissance provides a comprehensive analysis of the movement's development and importance, aptly illustrated and contextualized with an interview with David Levering Lewis. Burns and Sanders have successfully marshaled a huge amount of material into a format that is informative and highly entertaining. BOMC History Book Club selection. Nov. FYI: PBS will launch the 12-hour series New York on November 18. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This splendid history of America's premier city was written by Burns, director of such television documentaries as Coney Island and The Donner Party, and architect/writer Sanders. They were ably assisted by Ades, the picture editor, who assembled the 500 archival maps, paintings, prints, and contemporary photographs--all of which are visual delights that greatly enhance the text. Additional text is contributed by nine historians, urbanists, and literary figures. The companion volume to this fall's 12-hour PBS television series on the city, the book presents New York's sprawling history from the first sightings of the New York harbor by European explorers, through its founding as a Dutch colony in 1609, the beginning of English rule in 1664, the effects of the American Revolution, and on into the 19th and 20th centuries, which witnessed the city's emergence as the nation's leading seaport and its commercial, financial, and cultural capital. Both feared and widely emulated for its wealth and power, the city is a prodigy late 20th-century civilization. Burns's book helps explain how it got that way. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/99.]--Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
David Walton
The book is, as such collaborations go, narratively crisp, balanced and well researched, with room for everyone from Washington Irving to Allen Ginsberg and from Emma Lazarus to Le Corbusier to have a say...
The New York Times Book Review
New York: An Illustrated History offers two kinds of pleasure: hundreds of carefully chosen photographs and a thoughtful, well written text.
Entertainment Weekly
From the Publisher
“This book combines striking illustrations with scintillating essays to produce a superb history of the world’s first city.”
—Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

“A ravishing book . . . It can easily fill a winter of reading and browsing.”
New York Times

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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2580375710325
  • Manufacturer: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/2/2003
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 640
  • Product dimensions: 8.55 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 1.45 (d)
  • These items ship to U.S. address only. No APO/FPO.

Meet the Author

Ric Burns is best known for his work on the acclaimed PBS series The Civil War, which he produced with Ken Burns and wrote with Ken Burns and Geoffrey C. Ward, and for which he received two Emmy Awards and the Producer of the Year award of the Producers Guild of America. For public television, he has also directed the award-winning documentaries Coney Island, The Donner Party, and The Way West.

James Sanders, an architect, has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, and Architectural Record. He has completed design and development projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Parks Council, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and other civic groups and commercial clients in New York and Los Angeles.

Lisa Ades most recently produced The Way West, a six-hour documentary for national broadcast on PBS. In 1992, she received Peabody and D. W. Griffith awards for producing The Donner Party. Before co-producing Coney Island with Ric Burns in 1990, she was a producer at New York's public television station WNET on the nightly public affairs series The Eleventh Hour.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: City of Desire
1 The Country and the City, 1609-1825 2
Alexander Hamilton, the New Yorker with a National Vision 62
2 Order and Disorder, 1825-1865 68
"The Locomotive of These United States" 131
3 Sunshine and Shadow, 1865-1898 138
The Secrets of the Great City 210
4 The Power and the People, 1898-1919 216
Where the Modern World Took Shape, 1898-1929 300
5 Cosmopolis, 1919-1931 308
Harlem Renaissance 388
Cosmopolitan Capital: New York in the 1920s 391
6 The City of Tomorrow, 1931-1939 394
Robert Moses: The Power Broker 458
7 The City and the World, 1939-1969 466
The Lonely Crowd: New York After the War 536
Trauma, Apocalypse, Boom, Aftermath: New York City in the Last Twenty-five Years 542
City of the Millennium 550
Epilogue: The Center of the World 558
Acknowledgments 606
Selected Bibliography 607
Index 612
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Customer Reviews

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( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2002

    Amazing History

    I decided to read a little history of New York before a trip my family was making there and I picked this book up because I liked the great pictures. I started reading the history in pieces here and there and was so enthralled I couldnt put the book down for days and ended up reading it cover to cover. Since then, I have been reading exerpts to my children who are also fascinated by this city's amazing and often tragic history.

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