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Knickerbocker: The Myth behind New York Hardcover – July 1, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Diedrich Knickerbocker, a fictional man of stature, flamboyance and Dutch lineage, gets a history and identity worthy of New York's swagger in this exploration by Bradley (a contributor to The Encyclopedia of New York City) of how Knickerbocker shaped the city's identity. The narrator of Washington Irving's A History of New York, Knickerbocker has charmed readers since 1809 with his half-fantastical urban history, one that inspired local pride at a time when, according to Bradley, the city faced an identity crisis. Peppered with anecdotes, such as Knickerbocker's claiming of the doughnut for his city, Bradley's account maintains that the proud Dutchman inspired New Yorkers to assert their own idiosyncratic relationship to the city, and to its history. Knickerbocker was appropriated: for political gain during FDR's presidency, commercial reward for countless businesses and sports promotion for teams like the New York Knicks. While Bradley's flat prose fails to match the Knickerbocker's largesse, literary historians and proud New Yorkers alike will delight in the character who brought pomp and legend to the city first nicknamed Gotham by Washington Irving 200 years ago. (July)
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Review

Knickerbocker is a storied name steeped in tradition--one that I am proud to have been a part of. Bradley's Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York offers a unique examination of how a name familiarized by Washington Irving two hundred years ago grew to become a cultural symbol of New York.--Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley

Those who puzzle at the incessant branding and rebranding of New York City would do well to read this fascinating, sophisticated, and witty social history of a myth. Bradley knows her facts and shrewdly and convincingly interprets them. A delightful contribution to urban studies. --Phillip Lopate, author of Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan

"Those who puzzle at the incessant branding and rebranding of New York City would do well to read this fascinating, sophisticated, and witty social history of a myth. Bradley knows her facts and shrewdly and convincingly interprets them. A delightful contribution to urban studies."
Phillip Lopate, author of Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan

"Knickerbocker is a storied name steeped in tradition--one that I am proud to have been a part of. Bradley's Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York offers a unique examination of how a name familiarized by Washington Irving two hundred years ago grew to become a cultural symbol of New York."
Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley

"Is New York different from other cities, or does it just have different myths? Focusing on a tale first spun by Washington Irving two centuries ago, Knickerbocker answers this question with grace and skill. It is a delight to read."
Kenneth T. Jackson, editor-in-chief, The Encyclopedia of New York
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Rivergate Books; 1St Edition edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813545161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813545165
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,315,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Harry Matthews on August 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Washington Irving invented Diedrich Knickerbocker, the character who became a symbol for everything authentically New York. Elizabeth Bradley traces the fascinating process by which his name came to be associated with a range of phenomena and products. Her account tells us a lot about how New Yorkers see themselves and how the world sees New York. Alas for the author, the Knickerbocker name and legend have faded in recent decades and her later chapters feel like padding.

Nonetheless, she offers a thorough, well-written account of what is arguably the oldest and best known "brand" in America.
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Format: Hardcover
I love reading about New York history, and this is a great account of something that had always puzzled me -- who or what was "Knickerbocker"?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful look at the character first created by Washington Irving and since embraced by generations of New Yorkers. If you ever wondered how the New York Knicks got their name, this book is for you. I'm looking forward to other books the author has written or edited about New York history.
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