Friday 25 October 2013

New York

Finished October 10
New York by Edward Rutherfurd

The long novel traces the history of New York City, primarily Manhattan, through the lives of several families over time. Unlike others of his that I've read, this doesn't include a family chart, but it does have a good map the shows multiple time periods. The time covered here is 1664 to 2009 and characters include natives, Dutch, English, slaves, freemen, Irish, Italians, and Puerto Ricans. There are Quakers, Catholics, Anglicans, other Protestants, and Jews.
In the Revolutionary War period, we have a father and son on opposite sides of the struggle, and detail on the tax and representation issues that led to the war.
In the Civil War period, we see the complex trade issues that were at play.
In the Great Depression time, we see the effect of the collapse on finances of families, both good and bad.
There are self-made men, and those who lives on the inheritances of their predecessors. We see the evolution of skyscrapers including the building of the Empire State Building and the collapse of the World Trade Center. We see the status that Brooks Brothers clothing had for the wearers and the lives of the women sewing for them. We see the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and the building of the New York Public Library and its famous Reading Room. We see the rise of hotels and the Rockefeller Center, and the evolution of Coney Island.
One family line is present from start to finish, the Masters family. Others such as the Van Dycks, the Adlers, the O'Donnells and the Kellers appear and reappear.
There are some real historical figures, with the largest coverage of these given to Lord Cornbury and his likely real habit of crossdressing.
A very interesting book and a good way to learn some history of a very interesting city.


  1. I haven't read "New York" but absolutely love Edward Rutherfurd. His books always follow a similar line and teach you so much about history of a certain part of this world. This is definitely on my list. Thanks for sharing.

    Marianne from Let's Read

  2. Sounds like this one covers a lot of ground. Your review will be featured on War Through the Generations on Nov. 8. Thanks for participating!