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The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of Nearly 400 Years of New York City's History Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (May 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805060049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805060041
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Eric Homberger's The Historical Atlas of New York City shows what can be achieved within a very narrow frame of discussion. With just one city to depict, Homberger explores the rich variety of details in the city's 400-year history with vivid drawings and illustrations as well as beautifully rendered maps. The atlas takes on the geologic history of New York, major eras (Indian, Dutch, and British), and the formative 19th century, as well as the consolidation of Greater New York, neighborhood histories of Coney Island and Greenwich Village, and the Big Apple exploits of 1945 through 1996. But there's room for the small stuff, too, such as the political and cultural role of New York's taverns in the late 1700s. --Stephanie Gold

From Library Journal

"Atlas" is almost a misnomer for this encyclopedic overview of the history of New York City. Homberger (American studies, Univ. of East Anglia; Scenes from the Life of a City: Corruption and Conscience in Old New York, LJ 9/1/94) details the growth and development of the Big Apple from earliest times, with attention to geological formation, pre-Colonial settlement, and transformation to first city of the young republic. Detailed color maps abound, accompanied by a running commentary of major historical and cultural eras. Many of the most detailed maps are rendered schematically for easier reading. Each period treated features historical photos and illustrations along with accompanying map(s). Some of the best-known aspects of the city, e.g., the UN, Rockefeller Center, receive individual treatment, as do neighborhoods such as Harlem, Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, and Chinatown. Two fascinating illustrations are stylized diagrams of Broadway, the longest street in the city, and Fifth Avenue, arguably the city's main street. A detailed, illustrated chronology of important events in the city's history concludes the volume. A visual delight; highly recommended for all libraries.
Edward B. Cone, New York City
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 4, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It would be impossible to do justice to the history of New York City in a couple of hundred pages, so approaching this book with realistic expectations is important. With that in mind, this book is a wonderful overview of a fascinating metropolis, beginning with the formation of the land mass and continuing through its inhabitance by the Manahatta, the Dutch, the Brits and the Americans. Key historical eras are covered including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and many areas of interest are addressed such as immigration, politics, sports, the arts and architecture.
There are many photographs, drawings, charts and maps, and I appreciated that the scales were similar so that a reader can compare various maps easily.
Articles are well-written and graphics are clean and well-designed. I would call this more an historical almanac of NYC, but whatever you call it, it is a fun and interesting read.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on October 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Mr. Homberger's book, as the subtitle explains, is a VISUAL celebration. And on that level, the book is highly successful. In other words, don't expect any in-depth, thorough analysis of 400 years of NYC history. (For that, read Burrows and Wallace's GOTHAM.) To me, the sections dealing with pre-Revolutionary War New York are the most valuable, and Ms. Hudson's artwork is at its best there. This book is a great introduction to NYC history. I've lent my copy to several people over the years, and I return to it, again and again. Read, learn and enjoy.
Rocco Dormarunno
Author of The Five Points
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By frisky2000 VINE VOICE on February 24, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though a few facts are inaccurate here and there, the general look and presentation of this book makes it an absolute pleasure to read through. It's not a page for page heart-stopping, boring narrative of historical facts, but rather a full color 400 year history of the greatest city in the world: New York City! Includes maps, authentic photos, amusing stories and very interesting accounts of the evolution of the region. You will enjoy it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By William Apt on May 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I agree with Timothy Durkin's December 1999 customer review that this book contains a number of errors and inconsistencies, but my judgment is not as harsh. I also believe a great deal of information that should appear in a historical atlas about the city is inexcusably omitted. However, this is an appealling, informative book and makes for enjoyable reading and reference.
Insofar as positive attributes, the book contains wonderful graphics and color reproductions; is printed on good quality, non-glare paper; and, for a paperback, is well bound. Insofar as flaws, they are both minor and major. Minor flaws consist of editorial oversights such as the misstatement on page 176 that the Broadway musical OKLAHOMA! was written by Rodgers & Hart when it was written by Rodgers & Hammerstein, and the photograph on page 146 reproduced in reverse. (Looking south toward the Flatiron Building, Madison Square Park should be on the left and the World Trade Center Towers should be on the right). Major flaws consist of omission of maps or other graphics pertaining to vanished landmarks such as Jones Wood, an open space on the upper East side once considered as the site for Central Park; Chelsea when it was a country estate; and the Five Points. I had hoped to see maps of large 18th and 19th century upper Manhattan tract holdings; of the boundaries of the Battery before and after Castle Clinton went from island fortification to part of the mainland; of the gradual expansion by landfill of the Manhattan shoreline; and of unique streets and alleys, long vacated. Those, too, are absent.
A conflict is presented by the maps of the DeLancey farms on pages 60-61. On page 60, Division St. is shown to traverse the property, but on page 61 it is absent.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I just finished the Historical Atlas and while the book does a great job of touching on so many subjects in such a small space, it leaves a little to be desired because it does not focus on any one point in the city's development enough. I would have enjoyed the book more if it had a little more detail on how landmarks came to be where they are, and what the political an social culture of the city was at different time points that influenced the way the city developed. I suppose that wasn't the book's intent, though. Also, it would be nice to get a follow up chapter on the city's continued development since 1994. Overall, I thought the book was a good intro to NYC history, but I think I'm going to try a more in-depth history to fill in some gaps.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jill Tan on November 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was my "elementary course" in the history of New York City, my favourite city in the world (well, actually, that was Manhattan). But a lovely, extremely readable, well-written and informative book with incredibly detailed and creatively laid-out maps. With this basic knowledge of the history of NYC intact, I'm moving on to my next goal -- Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 by Burrows and Wallace. Don't we all love New York?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "goparker" on April 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a good book for a quick overview of NYC history, but it skimps a bit on some detail. The collection of maps and illustrations help bring the history to life.
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