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: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America free download

ISBN: 1400078679
Author: Russell Shorto
Book title: The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America
Format: pdf, epub, fb2, djvu
Pages: 416
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Language: English
Category: Humanities Books
Size ePub version: 1614 kb
Size fb2 version: 1753 kb

The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America pdf / epub / fb2 / djvu



A gripping narrative of New Netherland a story of global sweep centered on a wilderness called Manhattan that transforms our understanding of early America. 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. Russell Shorto draws on this remarkable archive in The Island at the Center of the World , which has been hailed by The New York Times as a book that will permanently alter the way we regard our collective past. 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.".In a landmark work of history, Russell Shorto presents astonishing information on the founding of our nation and reveals in riveting detail the crucial role of the Dutch in making America what it is today. In the late 1960s, an archivist in the New York State Library made an astounding discovery: 12,000 pages of centuries-old correspondence, court cases, legal contracts, and reports from a forgotten society: the Dutch colony centered on Manhattan, which predated the thirteen "original" American colonies. For the past thirty years scholar Charles Gehring has been translating this trove, which was recently declared a national treasure. Now, Russell Shorto has made use of this vital material to construct a sweeping narrative of Manhattan's founding that gives a startling, fresh perspective on how America began. In an account that blends a novelist's grasp of storytelling with cutting-edge scholarship,The Island at the Center of the Worldstrips Manhattan of its asphalt, bringing us back to a wilderness islanda hunting ground for Indians, populated by wolves and bearsthat became a prize in the global power struggle between the English and the Dutch. Indeed, Russell Shorto shows that America's founding was not the work of English settlers alone but a result of the clashing of these two seventeenth century powers. In fact, it was AmsterdamEurope's most liberal city, with an unusual policy of tolerance and a polyglot society dedicated to free tradethat became the model for the city of New Amsterdam on Manhattan. While the Puritans of New England were founding a society based on intolerance, on Manhattan the Dutch created a free-trade, upwardly-mobile melting pot that would help shape not only New York, but America. The story moves from the halls of power in London and The Hague to bloody naval encounters on the high seas. The characters in the sagathe men and women who played a part in Manhattan's foundingrange from the philosopher Rene Descartes to James, the Duke of York, to prostitutes and smugglers. At the heart of the story is a bitter power struggle between two men: Peter Stuyvesant, the autocratic director of the Dutch colony, and a forgotten American hero named Adriaen van der Donck, a maverick, liberal-minded lawyer whose brilliant political gamesmanship, commitment to individual freedom, and exuberant love of his new country would have a lasting impact on the history of this nation.It was situated on a perfect natural harbour at the mouth of a great river leading into a huge new land. Manhattan Island was to grow into the most powerful city in the most powerful country in the world. THE ISLAND AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD returns to the origins of New York's extraordinary history. It tells how a wilderness populated only by wolves and native tribes became the melting pot from which developed the free-trade, multi-cultural and upwardly-mobile spirit of New York that in turn would shape the whole American nation."

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