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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `New York is the true capital of America.'
This novel begins, in 1664, with a tiny Indian village and Dutch traders. It ends in 2009 with an epilogue. In between, the journey through the generations of the fictional families Mr Rutherfurd has created traverses many of the major events in the history of both New York and America.

From New Amsterdam as a Dutch trading settlement, through the period of...
Published on Jan. 21 2010 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was hoping for
I read this over several days while using a treadmill so to say I was concentrating would be a lie.

While the book does a good job of detailing some of the history of the city I was disappointed in the stories and situations facing the main characters. The potential for stories existed - Dutch trader torn between his Dutch wife and the native woman he loves,...
Published on April 3 2010 by not dark yet


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `New York is the true capital of America.', Jan. 21 2010
By 
Jennifer Cameron-Smith "Expect the Unexpected" (ACT, Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: New York (Hardcover)
This novel begins, in 1664, with a tiny Indian village and Dutch traders. It ends in 2009 with an epilogue. In between, the journey through the generations of the fictional families Mr Rutherfurd has created traverses many of the major events in the history of both New York and America.

From New Amsterdam as a Dutch trading settlement, through the period of British colonisation, and the War of Independence, the creation of the American nation, and the Civil War: these were the parts of the novel that held my attention most closely. This novel is about the evolution of New York, and the various families, characters and historical figures are important because they illuminate places, issues and times. This is not a history of New York, and some inaccuracies may aggravate those who spot them.

While I enjoyed the novel, I found the characters less engaging towards the end. The earlier parts of the novel were well served by Mr Rutherfurd's focus on the lives of families living through the historical events. By the end of the novel, the focus was almost entirely on one family and I found myself wondering about some of the others and the resolution of the issues they had been facing.

I think that this novel primarily depicts the historical development of New York from an economic and political perspective, and this makes sense when looking at a city over a period of nearly 350 years. An absorbing work of historical fiction: I'm glad I read it.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A BiG Bite of the Apple., Jan. 10 2011
By 
microfiche (Scarborough, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: New York: The Novel (Paperback)
J. Cameron-Smith's review said all I could say. I admire how Mr. Rutherford controlled his story and characters so that, while they were not fully fleshed, they were as fleshed as a 600 page novel covering 4 centuries could be. Few stereotypes and hardly any wooden or paper thin characters. I wish that he had divided his story into a series of books, as I was more impressed by the 'Hudson' family, the O'Donnells and the Carusos than I was by the Masters. The Masters caught my attention until Hetty's death. Then the oomph petered out. The World Wars and the War of 1812 were skimmed over, and Rose's social climbing vs. her mother in law's social conscience could have been boosted stronger. But for a 400 year overview of a city's history in novel form - it's a good read.

Would Mr. Rutherford consider Montreal as a future project? Or Ottawa? I hesitate to ask for Toronto Consolation: A Novel was very good, but I think Mr. Rutherford could do a wider panorama of my little town.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weaving History and Fiction Seamlessly, April 8 2010
By 
Jeffrey Swystun (Toronto & Mont Tremblant) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: New York (Hardcover)
This is a thoroughly entertaining weave of history and fiction through 350 years of history. It begins with a Dutch family and branches off as family trees do to other relations along with people met along the way. Rutherford uses a wampum belt as physical connection passed from generation to generation which proves a clever device. It is the first book by the author that I have read and I take it that he has created a unique franchise (London, Russka). New York provides a rich backdrop both for history and character development. Indeed, Manhattan and the other boroughs are characters unto themselves.

I am an (extremely) amateur New York History buff so when reading this I was reminded of three "sources" on the city's past. These are the PBS documentary on the city by Ric Burns, The Bowery Boys podcast, and Pete Hamill's Forever. The latter is also a fictionalized account of New York through the centuries as witnessed firsthand by the lead character who cannot die unless he leaves the island. In any event, all seem to reinforce each other in that they stress the same key events which lends credibility to Rutherford's research.

He begins with the incredibly influential Dutch in 1664. He twines in the early and sustained conflicts with the Native tribes as the city moves from "New Amsterdam" to "New York". Through his engrossing narrative we learn of the revolution, social change, slavery, the Civil War, the gangs of New York, immigration, labour rights, civil rights, Wall Streets ups and downs, near bankruptcy for the city, and the changes since 9/11. Rutherford puts his characters in the most influential events. They witness battles in the Revolutionary War, debate leading figures of the day, seek shelter during the draft riots, confront the horror of poor working conditions, experience racism and prejudice, contemplate suicide in down markets, participate in the counter-culture, all the time marvelling at the resilience of their fellow New Yorkers. And it does not come across as forced or false.

The format is deeply involving as you want to see how the weave continues through the decades and how the primary family makes out. Once I put it down, I thought how enjoyable it will be to read it again in a few years time. And it has also prompted me to read London.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Rutherfurd ... A great read, Oct. 20 2010
By 
C. J. Thompson "Arctic John" (Pond Inlet, Nunavut Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: New York: The Novel (Paperback)
Rutherfurd's first book Sarum: The Novel of England is widely reckoned to be his best and it is one of my all time favorite novels. His later works then seemed to decline progressively; London: The Novel and Russka: The Novel of Russia, were both excellent but not quite as good as the first, and The Forest was only moderately enjoyable. His later Irish novels were, sad to say, all but unreadable in my opinion. I am glad to say, though, that my willingness to give this author another chance was well rewarded with this latest book. It is in the same form as all his earlier works although, understandably, the temporal scope is not of the same epic span as in 'Sarum' and 'Russka'. Like all of Rutherfurd's works, I find the last few chapters a bit weak and uninteresting but the rest of the book is hugely entertaining. It's not his best work but is still well worth the money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Solid Work from This Excellent Historical Novelist, March 25 2012
By 
Alison S. Coad (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: New York: The Novel (Paperback)
"New York" is a new novel by Edward Rutherfurd, similar in type to his earlier books about Sarum and London. The conceit here is that he takes representative families from the city, starting from its founding, and follows the same families through the centuries to showcase the rise and fall of different groups of people. In the case of New York, he starts in 1664, when it was called New Amsterdam and the primary families were Dutch, along with the Native American tribes already there; then the English take over and subsequently the colony grows (complete with both slaves and free Blacks) until the American Revolution, followed by a brief period during which NYC was the capital of the United States. Then in come the Irish, and the Italians, and the Puerto Ricans, all living through all the events that occurred in the tumultuous 1800s and 1900s, ending up in the current millenium with focus given, not surprisingly, to September 11th, but ending with a brief coda set in 2009. So it's pretty comprehensive and up-to-date. I like all of Rutherfurd's histories, because I find his method of interweaving numerous representative families into the fabric and events of the times in which they live to be quite interesting, though I have to say I was bored with the long chapters leading up to and through the Revolution. Nevertheless, this is a big, sweeping historical novel, some 860 pages long, and if you like such dramatic retellings of historical events, Rutherfurd is a ton of fun to read. Recommended!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was hoping for, April 3 2010
This review is from: New York: The Novel (Paperback)
I read this over several days while using a treadmill so to say I was concentrating would be a lie.

While the book does a good job of detailing some of the history of the city I was disappointed in the stories and situations facing the main characters. The potential for stories existed - Dutch trader torn between his Dutch wife and the native woman he loves, the loyalist during the Revolutionary War, the draft riots of the Civil War, the Wall Street panics during market collapses, the immigrant/ethnic interactions and of course the Twin Towers. I was rarely moved though by anything the characters did as nothing really significant seemed to happen to them. They were more of a witness to the history of New York rather than characters that intrigued me.

If you want a very readable history of New York told in story form than this is for you. I can't vouch for the historical scholarship however. If you want a panoramic novel with lots of intrigue and drama, then there are probably better and certainly shorter books out there.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Rutherfurd ... A great read, Oct. 7 2010
By 
C. J. Thompson "Arctic John" (Pond Inlet, Nunavut Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: New York: The Novel (Paperback)
Rutherfurd's first book Sarum: The Novel of England is widely reckoned to be his best and it is one of my all time favorite novels. His later works then seemed to decline progressively; London: The Novel and Russka: The Novel of Russia, were both excellent, but not quite as good as the first, and The Forest was only moderately enjoybale. His later Irish novels were, sad to say, all but unreadable in my opinion. I am glad to say, though, that my willingness to give this author another chance was well rewarded with this latest book. It is in the same form as all his earlier works although, understandably, the temporal scope is not of the same epic span as in 'Sarum' and 'Russka'. Like all of Rutherfurd's works, I find the last few chapters a bit weak and uninteresting but the rest of the book is hugely entertaining. Well worth the money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New York, March 28 2014
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This review is from: New York (Hardcover)
Great read! Historical novel full of facts and information about the history of New York. We live in Canada and have travelled to NY many times. This book brought much insight and appreciation for this great city.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rutherfurd God I love You!, March 26 2014
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This review is from: New York: The Novel (Paperback)
I have not read all of this books yet I have read Paris and London and now New York. I do not know how he does it.. His books are breath taking. To begin with I was not much of a reader before I found this man. I found Paris and said "hey I like history and Paris as we all know is rich with her history" so I gave it a shot. Holy meatballs was it good!! All his books have the same formula so for those who do not like knowing somewhat what is coming than it may not work for you but I love when you have modern families and you follow them through their lives and see their ancestory and while doing so watch history unfold before you.

I do not want to give much away but all of the crucial and important historical figures of America I can think of are present and all of the historical events that have changed are world are present aswell. This is a must read for history fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT READ, Sept. 21 2010
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This review is from: New York (Hardcover)
I love Edward Rutherford, have read all his books. This one is as good maybe better than London (which was my favourite).
What an amazing insight into the city, you see it in an entirely new way. Highly recommend this read.
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New York
New York by Edward Rutherfurd (Hardcover - Nov. 10 2009)
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