Harlem: The Four Hundred Year History from Dutch Village to Capital of Black America

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Open Road + Grove/Atlantic, Feb 1, 2011 - History - 448 pages
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“An exquisitely detailed account of the 400-year history of Harlem.” —Booklist, starred review
Harlem is perhaps the most famous, iconic neighborhood in the United States. A bastion of freedom and the capital of Black America, Harlem’s twentieth-century renaissance changed our arts, culture, and politics forever. But this is only one of the many chapters in a wonderfully rich and varied history. In Harlem, historian Jonathan Gill presents the first complete chronicle of this remarkable place.
From Henry Hudson’s first contact with native Harlemites, through Harlem’s years as a colonial outpost on the edge of the known world, Gill traces the neighborhood’s story, marshaling a tremendous wealth of detail and a host of fascinating figures from George Washington to Langston Hughes. Harlem was an agricultural center under British rule and the site of a key early battle in the Revolutionary War. Later, wealthy elites including Alexander Hamilton built great estates there for entertainment and respite from the epidemics ravaging downtown. In the nineteenth century, transportation urbanized Harlem and brought waves of immigrants from Germany, Italy, Ireland, and elsewhere. Harlem’s mix of cultures, extraordinary wealth, and extreme poverty was electrifying and explosive.
Extensively researched, impressively synthesized, eminently readable, and overflowing with captivating characters, Harlem is a “vibrant history” and an impressive achievement (Publishers Weekly).
“Comprehensive and compassionate—an essential text of American history and culture.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“It’s bound to become a classic or I’ll eat my hat!” —Edwin G. Burrows, Pulitzer Prize–winning coauthor of Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pierthinker - LibraryThing

Harlem must be one of the most well-known neighbourhoods in one of the most iconic cities of the world, New York. What do we really know about this area and what lies behind Harlem? Starting with its ... Read full review

HARLEM: The Four Hundred Year History from Dutch Village to Capital of Black America

User Review  - Kirkus

Holland Times arts critic Gill (American History and Literature/Manhattan School of Music) charts the astonishing transformations, upheavals, revolutions and continual renaissances that have affected ... Read full review


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The Flash Age 18631898
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Moon Over Harlem 9
Tempus FugueIt
Harlem Nightmare 19651990
Old and New Dreams
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About the author (2011)

A professor of American history and literature, Jonathan Gill has taught at Columbia University, City College New York, and Fordham University, the Manhattan School of Music, and Hogeschool van Amsterdam. He has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, and is a book critic at the Holland Times. After more than two decades of living in uptown Manhattan, he moved to Amsterdam.

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