Edward Rutherfurd tells the story of this great city as no other author could - from the epic, empty grandeur of the New World to the skyscrapers of the City that Never Sleeps, from the intimate detail of lives long forgotten to those lived today at breakneck speed.
The novel begins with a tiny Indian fishing village and the Dutch traders who first carved out their hopes amidst the splendour of the wilderness.
The British settlers and merchants followed, with their aristocratic governors and unpopular taxation which led to rebellion, war, the burning of the city and the birth of the American Nation.
Yet a country that had already rent itself asunder once did so again over slavery.
As the country fought its bloody Civil War, the city was torn apart by deadly riots.
Hopes and dreams, greed and corruption - they have always been the companions of freedom and opportunity in the city's teeming streets.
As the immigrant ships berthed next to Ellis Island in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, they poured more and more Germans, Irish, Italians and Jews into the churning ethnic mix of the city. Deals were struck, politicians corrupted, men bought or assassinated, heiresses wooed, fortunes were speculated on Wall Street and men became rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
The heady seesaw of wealth and poverty was seen in the Roaring Twenties and the Great Crash, the city's future symbolised by its buildings which literally touched the sky: the Empire State, the Chrysler Building, the Twin Towers.
Rutherfurd tells this irresistible story through a cast of fictional and true characters whose fates interweave in the rise and fall, fall and rise of the city's fortunes.
It is the story of how in four centuries New York became the envy of the world. And in telling the story through the lens of New York, Rutherfurd brings the story of America itself to unforgettable life in this epic masterpiece.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 1040 pages, maps
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 01/07/2010
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9780099509387
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by Glorybe1
This is another great book by an excellent author, all about (yes doesn't take a genius to work it out!) New York!It starts in 1664 and culminates in 2001 at the World Trade Centre.It is a story of fiction for the most part, and tells the stories of 3 or 4 families down through history. Here and there it got a little bogged down with political stuff but I suppose if you are telling the story of a vast city such as New York this is going to happen, but for the most part it had me hooked on the characters lives and loves.An excellent read, very meaty, and I can well recommend it to anyone with an interest in "The Big Apple" or indeed general history.
Review by john257hopper
Another historical saga with intertwined families by the author who is, for me, the leading living exponent of this genre. This gives a good feel for the rich cultural diversity and breadth of New York and demonstrates its well deserved place as one of the world's great cities. The only slight surprise was that the chapters on the 20th century skirted round the edges of all famous events between the Wall Street crash and 9/11. Not a criticism, as that is not the point of the novel, but I was a little surprised. This will never be my favourite Rutherfurd as I am ultimately more interested in British and Russian history than US history, but a fine read. I'd like to visit NY now.