From Publishers Weekly
With a disproportionate share of literati residing in Brooklyn, N.Y., the place has been the subject of plenty of books, from guidebooks to nostalgia-fests to coffee-table histories, but this handsome "illustrated collection of true and original stories about life in Brooklyn past and present" is unique. Contributors range from noted Brooklynites (Mel Brooks, Arthur Miller, Spike Lee, Susan Brownmiller) to savvy local journalists. "The Brooklyn state of mind is combative, wry, resilient," declares essayist Phillip Lopate, and the individuals who pass through from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to handball king Joe Durso illustrate the point. Predictable subjects like the Brooklyn Bridge and Junior's cheesecake are handled well, while less-storied subjects are also charming: the proprietor of Bargemusic (a local musical series held on, yes, a barge) and restaurants where one just might meet a made man from La Cosa Nostra. Short pieces covering the incorporation of Brooklyn into New York City in 1898, the preservation of architecturally notable Brooklyn Heights, the famous folk buried at Greenwood Cemetery and films made in Brooklyn offer a good grasp of the borough's history and institutions. Some subjects are slighted why a timeline for the 20th century, but not the 19th, when Brooklyn was a separate city? And despite its protestations to the contrary, the book is permeated with nostalgia. Still, this rich compendium is a welcome contribution to anyone devoted to or curious about "the better borough." Photos, illus. (Aug. 8)Forecast: Were it still independent, Brooklyn would be the fourth largest city in the United States. With a high number of readers per capita, it should prove fertile soil for this paean.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
"I sing of Brooklyn, the fruited plain, cradle of genius, and stand up comedy, awash in history, relics of Indian mounds, Dutch farms, Revolutionary War battles, breweries and baseball." Thus begins an ode to a community that today would constitute the fourth-largest city in the nation had it not merged with New York City in 1898. Through 125 essays (written by such celebrities as Spike Lee and Arthur Miller) and interviews, a broad array of Brooklyn history is explored: from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, from Coney Island to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, from the West Indian Day parade to Green-Wood Cemetery, from beer to boxing. The raucous nostalgia for the city of old is reinforced with hundreds of black-and-white photographs. Those seeking a more critical history must look elsewhere, but for those who want their local history to go down as easy as buttered popcorn, this celebratory work will be a real joy. Recommended for public library travel and New York history collections. Christopher Brennan, SUNY Brockport
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.