Andrew's Reviews > The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America

The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto
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's review
Apr 04, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: history

For so many Americans, New York City seems like alien territory. New York City has long had the reputation as the city where people of all backgrounds live and can feel accepted. While other cities have similar attitudes, NYC clearly leads the pack in this regard and was the first U.S. city to develop this attitude.

How come? Short says it all started with the Dutch, when they colonized Manhattan. To support this argument, he takes the read through the most thorough account of the Dutch colonial period in New Amsterdam. He draws from recent translations of documents from the era, so the information is new.

It is quite interesting. Beyond the general impression of English domination of our culture, there are a number of equally interesting challenges to conventional wisdom about that era.

Well worth the read.

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