Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
When Brooklyn Was the World, 1920-1957 Hardcover – April 13, 1986
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
New York History
December 3, 2004
Brooklyn: Hometown and Borough
Elliot Willensky's When Brooklyn Was the World 1920-1957 visits New York's most populous borough during its heyday. His account takes the reader on a tour though the streets of Brooklyn during its most fascinating period, combining the best features of a photo album, a diary, and a travel guide.
Willensky's Brooklyn is born from the excitement of the lawless and indulgent Roaring Twenties and leaves with a final parkway ride out to Levittown during the postwar flight to suburbia. His study begins generally, examining Brooklyn as a whole, searching for its special lure and curiosity in a section entitled "Are You Really From Brooklyn?" He questions the borough a unique identity and discovers features present throughout it: ethnic diversity, neighborhood pride, a transit company bearing its name, along with a spirit of accomplishing the unexpected, revealed in celebrations of "da bums" World Series victory.
The book then proceeds along a very loose chronology, with periodic interruptions allotting time to study cultural habits and architectural features. Yet, When Brooklyn Was the World serves less as a time line than a narration of daily life. Where appropriate, Willensky blends decades together, and he is a little over-detailed so its possible to get lost in the forest, but he closely develops two eras of Brooklyn life, the era of prohibition and the period during America's involvement in World War II. He tells a series of anecdotes illustrating Brooklyn's restlessness under the Volstead Act, restlessness equal to that of Manhattan. Speakeasies were raided. Mob bosses were ratted on.Read more ›
Elliot Willensky is uniquely qualified to have written this book. As official Borough Historian and the co-author of the singular AIA GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY (which lists and describes every architectural point of interest in the Five Boroughs) he is intimately aware of the streets of New York, but more so, as a Brooklyn boy, he also has the heartbeat of Brooklyn beating in his own chest.
Brooklyn was its own city before Greater New York swallowed it whole in 1898 (by only a few hundred "yea" votes out of 70,000 cast). As a Borough, it was "big [and] klutzy," the unshaven bigger, younger blue-collar brother of chi-chi Beau Brummell Manhattan. Brooklyn's population has always exceeded that of any other Borough, and in its own way, Brooklyn has been far more diverse and interesting than even "the City".
In the early twentieth century, Brooklyn grew at a fantastic rate as immigrants and the children of immigrants streamed, (as they still do), into its hundred square miles seeking relief from the overcrowding of Manhattan's Lower East Side. As Willensky says, this history of Brooklyn is divided, de facto, into three portions, before The War (1920-1941), During The War (1941-1945), and After The War (1945-1957). Each era is different. Brooklyn is different now. And yet . . .
The immigrants developed their own patois that reflected a mixture of their varying accents newly-leavened with the day-to-day details of Brooklyn life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For one born in Brooklyn in 19930 who lived there until the early 50's I appreciated the historical overview of Brooklyn and the memories it invoked.Published 1 month ago by Norman Finkel
Loved this book! I grew up in Brooklyn - learned a lot about my surroundings.
Brought back lots of good memories.
Bought it for an ex pat, living in Israel.She spent her first decades n Bklyn, and she was gratefl to read about the places so dear to her years ago.Published 18 months ago by Jean M. Jonnard
As a born & breed Brooklynite, I expected more of this book. It was good, but not as great as it could have been.Published 23 months ago by GRZ