The Island at the Center of the World (Google eBook)

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Apr 12, 2005 - History - 384 pages
39 Reviews
When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, polyglot society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor. But the story of the Dutch colony of New Netherland was merely lost, not destroyed: 12,000 pages of its records–recently declared a national treasure–are now being translated. Drawing on this remarkable archive, Russell Shorto has created a gripping narrative–a story of global sweep centered on a wilderness called Manhattan–that transforms our understanding of early America.

The Dutch colony pre-dated the “original” thirteen colonies, yet it seems strikingly familiar. Its capital was cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic, and its citizens valued free trade, individual rights, and religious freedom. Their champion was a progressive, young lawyer named Adriaen van der Donck, who emerges in these pages as a forgotten American patriot and whose political vision brought him into conflict with Peter Stuyvesant, the autocratic director of the Dutch colony. The struggle between these two strong-willed men laid the foundation for New York City and helped shape American culture. The Island at the Center of the World uncovers a lost world and offers a surprising new perspective on our own.

BONUS MATERIAL: This ebook edition includes an excerpt from Russell Shorto's Amsterdam.
  

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Review: The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America

User Review  - Paul Cockeram - Goodreads

While the myth of America's founding by brave, god-fearing pilgrims may run deep through its culture, Russel Shorto argues convincingly that we owe as much or more to the Dutch. When the Dutch founded ... Read full review

Review: The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America

User Review  - Karen Mardahl - Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book. It covers the time the Dutch owned/ran/lived in Manhattan. How they got there and what influence they had on America is full of fascinating details uncovered only because ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Russell Shorto is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, and the author of two previous books: Gospel Truth, about the search for the historical Jesus, and Saints and Madmen, about psychiatry and religion. The hub of his research for The Island at the Center of the World was the New Netherland Project at the New York State Library, where the archives of the Dutch colony centered on Manhattan are being translated. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife and their two daughters.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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