Customer Reviews: The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of 400 Years of New York City's History
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on January 15, 2006
This book includes many really nice maps of early New York. Much of the historical information included in the maps is uniquely presented here and lacking in many other publications. However, there are many editorial mistakes and misspellings that I have observed, which makes me wonder about the accuracy of the rest of the information. Additionally, the narrative text is simple, limited and sometimes disjointed and difficult to follow. Buy this book simply for its beautiful graphics and depictions of the city as it used to be. Some periods of the city's history could be greatly expanded, especially the city's role in the revolution and the siege of Fort Washington. Anyone with knowledge of the city will find it of limited value beyond the maps and illustrations. A little polishing of this book and some additional material for some historical periods in a future edition would make this book an outstanding work. For now, I would call it good but lacking in important areas.
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on July 4, 2006
This is simply one of the best NYC historical reference work available. The book is divided into periods and will display numerous maps , photos and drawings of the buildings and landscape of the city at that time in history. Plenty of history is included to make certain you are keyed in to the era, and how the buildings fit in. Just a beautiful book. Great binding and very sturdy.
Strong buy
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on January 7, 2008
The Historical Atlas of New York City solved a huge problem for me. I'm writing a novel set partly in New York in 1864, and while I lived in the City in 1964, that's a hundred years too late for this novel! I live now where research facilities are slim, and I needed something to show me where people lived, shopped, worked, entertained themselves.

This book answered my questions. It showed me which landmark buildings were on which streets then and gave me the background for the characters who inhabit my novel and the City. It has prevented me from having a character walk past the Flatiron building, or attend a ball at the Waldorf-Astoria.

It also confirmed that elderly gentlemen probably played chess in Tompkins Square Park just as they did a hundred years later, and that the brownstones around Washington Square were inhabited by wealthy families.

It has enabled me to put some of my own reminiscences (faithfully recorded in my journals of the time) into the book while avoiding some anomalies.

Not all my questions were resolved in this book, but studying the maps gave me enough information about the trains in New York to avoid some errors, like describing Grand Central Station, because it gives the date that amazing edifice was built.

A valuable addition to my own research library!
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on January 3, 2012
As another review said, this book has some very nice period pictures but I think calling it an "atlas" is a real stretch. I found it to be poorly written and poorly organized. It strikes me as a book with chapters written by a variety of authors pulled together and glued into a book but without an editor to review the content. For example, from my experience, a good historical will explain the origin of an interesting item the first time it is used. Not so here and I found myself running to the computer every so often to see why "Canal Street" was named Canal Street or to see what happened to the Collect Pond. It more or less flows in time from chapter to chapter but you would never call it seamless and I found myself going back to see if I had missed a chapter while reading. As always, you are bound to learn something by reading this book, even if it is mostly how to detect poor grammar.
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on July 28, 2011
USPS delivered this book from Amazon today and I just skimmed it from cover-to-cover. It looks interesting and is nicely put together, but it bugs me that the photo of the lower Manhattan skyline on page 146 is backwards; the World Trade Center should be on the right, not the left. When I see a glaring error like that in a book, I wonder about the integrity of the rest of the book. So only 4 stars from me, instead of 5.
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on January 13, 2014
This book provides a panoramic view of the history of New York City, from its origins as a Dutch colony founded in 1610 to its present status (as of 2004). The book is abundantly illustrated with maps, old pictures, photographs, and various other illustrations that complement the text and provide useful context and perspective for the reader.

The book provides a good introduction to, and overview of, the political, economic, social, and cultural history of New York City. In the process, the author provides a good mix of discussing the human and the institutional aspects of New York City’s history. The book is written in a style that does not require a reader to have any formal background or training in history, and provides a readable and interesting history of New York City. But, the book has limited value as a scholarly reference for several reasons: (1) the author does not use footnotes or endnotes; (2) the author does not provide source references for all of the quotations in the book; (3) and book offers many facts and figures that not readily traceable to identifiable sources.

I recommend this book for anyone looking for a casual, readable history of New York City. Anyone interested in a scholarly or detailed history of New York City should look at other books. The author of this book does provide a list of 57 books on New York City (with copyright dates from 1990 to 2004) that will help any reader interested in further reading or research about New York City.
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on July 7, 2016
After spending a long weekend in NYC (our hotel was 1 block from the Flatiron Building) I wanted a good history book for the city. Came across this one by price and reviews.

It has a TON of info going back to the original Western settlements, and showing how the city was torn down and re-drawn over and over again as it was built up. A few of the "major avenues" go back hundreds of years, but the maps we know today really didn't get set till the 1780's.

Very much liked the book.
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on May 10, 2014
Fantastic book!! has all the details from early beginnings to now, including 9-11, and presented in a spendid pictorial format, nicely illustrated with detailed captions!! I'm very pleased with the purchase, the quality, and packaging!!
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on March 9, 2014
Such an interesting book. Has a lot of relevant tidbits with regards to New York history. It doesn't go into great detail about the people involved in the city's history but just enough that you know what they did and how they did it. The maps and illustrations are well printed and you get a sense of how it would have been like in the old days.
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on June 17, 2009
This is a great pictorial and editorial history of the city. Being an Aussie I was looking for something that took me back to the roots of the city which this did. Somewhat brief in many areas it is a general history lesson on the city in an easy to read format which reminded me somewhat of a high school history book. Lacks detail but was what I was looking for as an introductory and complete base knowledge of the City of NY.
My knowledge of the City is now enhanced (from nothing) to the point where I am condident I am far more knowledgable about the history, geography and culture of New York that I was prior to this purchase.
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