About the Book
New York begins in the 1600s with the Dutch merchants who set up shop in what would later become New York City. The novel follows the lives of several families as it moves from the Dutch losing New Amsterdam to England, on through the American Revolution, the American Civil War, Prohibition and the Depression, and into modern times with the 11 September attack on the World Trade Center.
The primary family through which the other families’ tales interweave is the Masters. The novel is essentially a series of interconnected short stories that show how the Masters prospered (and almost failed) through each time period, their emotional struggles, and their relationship with the city they love.
How Was It?
Why was this book not available when I was taking high school U.S. History? All the facts and details in class were beyond boring to me and I’ve never had much (any) interest in American history.
New York brings life to the history that I hated and puts it in context with how it might have affected the people living through it. Rutherfurd does an excellent job making each time period feel real, is deft at setting a character’s story in a historical context while also giving each character a unique tale, and brings richness to the history that finally allowed me to appreciate and understand some of the history of the U.S.
Rutherfurd is also the author of London which I’ve had sitting on my To-Read shelf for a couple years now. After tackling New York, I’m looking forward to diving into the streets of London and eventually his latest release, Paris.