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Knickerbocker: The Myth behind New York
by Elizabeth L. Bradley (Goodreads Author)
Deep within New York's compelling, sprawling history lives an odd, ornery Manhattan native named Diedrich Knickerbocker. The name may be familiar today: his story gave rise to generations of popular tributes—from a beer brand to a basketball team and more—but Knickerbocker himself has been forgotten. In fact, he was New York's first truly homegrown chronicler, and as a ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Rivergate Books
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Thousands, or probably millions, of people like me adopt New York as a hometown without ever digging into its history. This book is a great corrective to that tendency -- a slim, exuberant little piece of cultural history that offers a glimpse into how New York came to see and define itself in the 19th century. The author also pulls off the very neat trick of balancing scholarly seriousness and readability, without succumbing to the breathless prose that sometimes waylays writers of popular hist ...more
Jul 18, 2010 Jonathan rated it really liked it
A nifty history of the "Knickerbocker" name as a label for New York City's natives. What began as a gently subversive joke by young Washington Irving became a marker of wealth and privilege as the nineteenth century wore on. But the term's persistence into the present day, in Bradley's view, suggests how much has remained the same about New York -- how much the city's identity rests on ceaseless self-fashioning.