Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

New York: An Illustrated History

New York: An Illustrated History

by Ric Burns, Lisa Ades, James Sanders

See All Formats & Editions

The companion volume to the PBS television series, with more than 500 full-color and black-and-white illustrations

This lavish and handsomely produced book captures all the beauty, complexity, and power of New York — the city that seems the very embodiment of ambition, aspiration, romance, desire; the city that has epitomized the entire parade of modern life


The companion volume to the PBS television series, with more than 500 full-color and black-and-white illustrations

This lavish and handsomely produced book captures all the beauty, complexity, and power of New York — the city that seems the very embodiment of ambition, aspiration, romance, desire; the city that has epitomized the entire parade of modern life, with all its possibilities and problems. Chronicling the story of New York from its establishment as a Dutch trading post in 1624 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 strands of the city's sweeping history into a single compelling narrative, New York carries us through nearly four centuries of turbulent growth and change — from the first settlement on the tip of "Manna-hata" Island to the destruction wrought by the Revolutionary War; to the city's stunning emergence in the nineteenth century as the nation's premier industrial metropolis; to the waves of early-twentieth-century immigration that forever transformed the city and the nation; to New York's transfiguration as the world's first modern city — pioneering skyscrapers, apartment houses, subways, and highways — and its role as the birthplace of so much of American popular culture. Along the way, we witness the building of the city's celebrated landmarks and neighborhoods, 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.

The book brims with vibrant illustrations, including hundreds of rare photographs, paintings, lithographs, prints, and period maps. The narrative incorporates the voices and stories of men and women — statesmen, entrepreneurs, artists, and visionaries — who have lived in and built the city: an extraordinary cast of characters that includes Peter Stuyvesant, Alexander Hamilton, John Jacob Astor, Walt Whitman, Boss Tweed, Jacob Riis, Emma Lazarus, J. P. Morgan, Al Smith, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Gershwin, Fiorello La Guardia, Robert Moses, and Jane Jacobs.

Accompanying the book's narrative are interviews with Robert A. Caro, David Levering Lewis, and Robert A. M. Stern, and essays by a group of distinguished New York historians and critics — Kenneth T. Jackson, Mike Wallace, Marshall Berman, Phillip Lopate, Carol Berkin, and Daniel Czitrom — who add their insights about the city to this splendid history.

Editorial Reviews

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

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

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.57(w) x 11.45(h) x 1.40(d)

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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews