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Drawing on 17th-century Dutch records of New Netherland and its capital, Manhattan, translated by scholar Charles Gehring only in recent decades, Shorto (Gospel Truth) brings to exuberant life the human drama behind the skimpy legend starting with the colony's founding in 1623. Most Americans know little about Dutch Manhattan beyond its first director, Peter Minuit, who made the infamous $24 deal with the Indians, and Peter Stuyvesant, the stern governor who lost the island to the English in 1664. These two seminal figures receive their due here, along with a huge cast of equally fascinating characters. But Shorto has a more ambitious agenda: to argue for the huge debt Americans owe to the culture of Dutch Manhattan, the first place in the New World where men and women of different races and creeds lived in relative harmony. The petitions of the colony's citizens for greater autonomy, penned by Dutch-trained lawyer Adriaen van der Donck, represented "one of the earliest expressions of modern political impulses: an insistence by the members of the community that they play a role in their own government." While not discounting the British role in the shaping of American society, the author argues persuasively for the Dutch origins of some of our most cherished beliefs and their roots in "the tolerance debates in Holland" and "the intellectual world of Descartes, Grotius, and Spinoza." Shorto's gracefully written historical account is a must-read for anyone interested in this nation's origins.
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As the song goes, "Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam." Unfortunately, for many Americans, that is the limit of their knowledge about the Dutch colony that was seized by the English in 1664. Shorto, author of two previous books and articles published in the New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine, presents an outstanding and revealing chronicle of the Dutch presence on Manhattan Island. Much of his research is based on recently translated Dutch primary sources that have languished in archives in Albany. Written in elegant prose, this enthralling story provides original perspectives on several historical figures, including Henry Hudson, Peter Minuit, and Peter Stuyvesant. Shorto also highlights the contributions of Andriaen van der Donck, an energetic, charismatic man who played an integral part in creating a dynamic, diverse, and tolerant society that appears refreshing when compared to the neighboring Puritan-dominated colony in Massachusetts. This is an important work. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I couldn't get enough of this book. My family came from Amsterdam in 1640Published 7 days ago by J. L. Peterson
It is a tough read but really worth it. You will find out how much you did not know.Published 10 days ago by Gail Mitzner
Gives new insights into the Dutch influence on the development of New York City as a worldwide capital. A must-read for anyone interested in the foundations of democracy.Published 17 days ago by Jenny Peters
This is a well written history of the Dutch establishment of New Amsterdam which became New York City !Published 20 days ago by John P Sullivan
Just listened on Audible.com and loved this book. By hearing it, there wasn't the problem of foreign names that I have with Russian literature. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Doug Anderson
One of my all-time favorite books. This is replacing one I loaned out & never got back! It is TOO GOOD not to have on hand!Published 1 month ago by Rapid Reader
LOVE IT. Have recommended to all readers. Historically correct. Easy to identify with locations and events in area of birth. Exciting.Published 1 month ago by crunch