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Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City Paperback – May 28, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this brilliantly illustrated volume, Sanderson and Boyer recreate the ecology of Manhattan as it was that 1609 September afternoon when Henry Hudson first saw it, "prodigious in its abundance, resplendent in its diversity." The project began as a simple thought exercise, when senior Bronx Zoo ecologist Sanderson (Human Footprint: Challenges for Wilderness and Biodiversity) tried visualizing pre-colonial Manhattan, but was promoted to full-blown science project after Sanderson discovered an "extraordinary" 1776 British Headquarters Map detailing the island's natural terrain. Developing a "georeference" system to coordinate the old map, Sanderson "relates its depiction of the old hills and valleys to their modern addresses." From there, he reconstructs data missing from the historical record using standard scientific tools-examining pollen layers, tree rings, archeological information, etc. Sanderson's text integrates political and sociological history; examines the culture of the original inhabitants, the Lenape (their word Mannahatta means "Island of Many Hills"); and covers a wealth of ecological data; he even shares his vision for the ecologically sustainable city of 2409. This wise and beautiful book, sure to enthrall anyone interested in NYC history, boasts maps, charts, photos and artist renderings, thorough appendices (including Lenape place-names and Manhattan's flora and fauna), and an extensive section of "Notes, Sources, and Elaborations." 120 color illustrations. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Eric W. Sanderson is a senior conservation ecologist in the Global Conservation Programs of the Wildlife Conservation Society. He is adjunct faculty member at Columbia University and New York University and has lectured at Princeton, Harvard, and Oxford universities, and at TED.
Top customer reviews
Marguerite from Seattle
As an intermittent visitor to New York, first in 1968, I've had an ongoing interest and have purchased quite a number of books on the subject from Amazon.
This particular book is superb for anyone interested in Manhattan or in the process of providing an historical setting for any such significant location. It's great value. I thoroughly recommend it, even for general interest.