This is a really interesting book, about the history of New York City, spanning from New York’s beginnings as a tiny Indian fishing village, to 2009. I first picked this book up while browsing in a bookstore, and I’m glad I decided to read it. It was a bit slow to get into, but then it got very interesting. “History was never so fun to read.” (USA Today.) Though it has historical figures and dates, most of the narration is done by various fictionalized families whose fortunes rise and fall and rise again with the city’s fortunes. They have to face the real historical issues and problems that occurred in the city. I love New York City, being born there, and this book helped me learn a little more about the history. I enjoyed the very real feeling characters and the exciting plot of this thick volume. I also loved the way the author tied together different, seemingly unrelated families, and connected them in some way, despite social gaps and differences in time periods. For example, the book follows one family, the Masters, and their descendants all the way from the beginning to the end. I really liked the historical background that this book provided and the many fictional tales which were weaved into the fabric of history. I also learned more about what really happened during the Civil War and other time periods. Another great thing about the book was the build-up, especially right before the stock market crash of 1929 and 9/11. You knew that something bad was going to happen, but the characters didn’t, and it was agonizing, but a good suspense tactic. If you’re interested in history or in New York City, this is a good book for you. 860 pages, 4.9 stars.
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