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Brooklyn: A State of Mind Paperback – October 23, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 1st edition (October 23, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761116354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761116356
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on March 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
BROOKLYN: A STATE OF MIND, edited by Michael Robbins, is a treat for anyone who wonders about the place they always hear about in movies and t.v. or who was born and raised in the greatest borough of the greatest city on Earth (ahem). In spite of the gimmicky subtitle, this collection of essays and stories, photos and cartoons, film scripts and stills, is as informative, inspiring, stunning, human, and a little bit scary as the place itself. Some of my favorite pieces are:
1) David McCullough's "Harry Truman: Live and In Color in Brooklyn". (I'm a sucker for anything by McCullough, anyway.)
2) Glenn Thrush's "The Mistake of '98". In 1898, when Manhattan (which was New York City back then) incorporated the surrounding four boroughs to create Greater New York City, everyone thought it was a fantastic idea--everyone, except for Brooklynites, that is. Brooklyn, which at the time was the third or fourth largest city in the U.S., really didn't want to be associated with the dirty, corrupt and immigrant-filled island on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge. (Brooklyn wanted to be its own dirty, corrupt and immigrant filled place.) Thrush's piece is a fascinating look at the events leading up to and years after the consolidation.
3)Jon Gartenberg's "Brooklyn on Film: The Guy from Brooklyn in World War II". I had always remembered watching old WWII movies and, sure enough, there was always the Brooklyn guy. Even in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the character, Reiben (sp?), is from King's County and wears a Brooklyn bomber jacket. Gartenberg explains why this staple became so common in this movie genre.
Lastly, the photos, some of the best are by Stanley Greenberg and Genevieve Naylor, provided some breathing room around the enormous amount of text. I also recommend Andrea Watt Sexton and Alice Leccese Power's BROOKLYN READER.
BROOKLYN: A STATE OF MIND is one of the best books about the greatest place on the planet. Got a problem wid dat?
Rocco Dormarunno
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By William D. Tompkins on October 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
short crisp stories about brooklyn
plenty of variety to appeal to pretty much anyone about all sorts of brooklyn related stuff
highly enjoyable
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By G. Bernstein on July 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I grew up in Brooklyn in the 50s/60s. I now live in Los Angeles but I still miss the old neighborhoods. The stories in this book bring me right back. It's a great read for people who want to reminisce or for someone who would like to get a taste of life in a time of innocence in a place of unparalleled sense of community.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy VINE VOICE on March 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a scrapbook of the world's greatest city from the end of WW II to about the beginnings of television. It's necessarily sentimental because almost everyone who contributed to the volume doesn't live there any more. They (we) did our best and went elsewhere and although we may have succeeded because of the place we came from, most of had to leave to be who we are.
So this is a sentimental tribute to the old country. The photographs are wonderful-that is, they tell the truth as I remember it and some of the essays are great.
This is another bedside, bathroom, waiting room book best sampled in small doses and savored.

Lynn Hoffman, Brooklyn Tech '61 and author of New Short Course in Wine,The and the Brooklynesque bang BANG: A Novel
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on March 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
BROOKLYN: A STATE OF MIND, edited by Michael Robbins, is a treat for anyone who wonders about the place they always hear about in movies and t.v. or who was born and raised in the greatest borough of the greatest city on Earth (ahem). In spite of the gimmicky subtitle, this collection of essays and stories, photos and cartoons, film scripts and stills, is as informative, inspiring, stunning, human, and a little bit scary as the place itself. Some of my favorite pieces are:
1) David McCullough's "Harry Truman: Live and In Color in Brooklyn". (I'm a sucker for anything by McCullough, anyway.)
2) Glenn Thrush's "The Mistake of '98". In 1898, when Manhattan (which was New York City back then) incorporated the surrounding four boroughs to create Greater New York City, everyone thought it was a fantastic idea--everyone, except for Brooklynites, that is. Brooklyn, which at the time was the third or fourth largest city in the U.S., really didn't want to be associated with the dirty, corrupt and immigrant-filled island on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge. (Brooklyn wanted to be its own dirty, corrupt and immigrant filled place.) Thrush's piece is a fascinating look at the events leading up to and years after the consolidation.
3)Jon Gartenberg's "Brooklyn on Film: The Guy from Brooklyn in World War II". I had always remembered watching old WWII movies and, sure enough, there was always the Brooklyn guy. Even in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the character, Reiben (sp?), is from King's County and wears a Brooklyn bomber jacket. Gartenberg explains why this staple became so common in this movie genre.
Lastly, the photos, some of the best are by Stanley Greenberg and Genevieve Naylor, provided some breathing room around the enormous amount of text. BROOKLYN: A STATE OF MIND is one of the best books about the greatest place on the planet. Got a problem wid dat?
Rocco Dormarunno, author of The Five Points
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By brooklynite on January 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
the most enjoyable book i have found to bring back the days of growing up in the wonderful, diverse city of Brooklyn. i keep 5 copies on hand and give them out to people i meet of my generation frim Brooklyn.
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