A History of New York in 101 Objects

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“Delightfully surprising….A portable virtual museum…an entertaining stroll through the history of one of the world’s great cities” (Kirkus Reviews), told through 101 distinctive objects that span the history of New York, almost all reproduced in luscious, full color.

Inspired by A History of the World in 100 Objects, Sam Roberts of The New York Times chose fifty objects that embody the narrative of New York for a feature article in the paper. Many more suggestions came from readers, and so Roberts has expanded the list to 101. Here are just a few of what this keepsake volume offers:

-The Flushing Remonstrance, a 1657 petition for religious freedom that was a precursor to the First Amendment to the Constitution.
-Beads from the African Burial Ground, 1700s. Slavery was legal in New York until 1827, although many free blacks lived in the city. The African Burial Ground closed in 1792 and was only recently rediscovered.
-The bagel, early 1900s. The quintessential and undisputed New York food (excepting perhaps the pizza).
-The Automat vending machine, 1912. Put a nickel in the slot and get a cup of coffee or a piece of pie. It was the early twentieth century version of fast food.
-The “I Love NY” logo designed by Milton Glaser in 1977 for a campaign to increase tourism. Along with Saul Steinberg’s famous New Yorker cover depicting a New Yorker’s view of the world, it was perhaps the most famous and most frequently reproduced graphic symbol of the time.

Unique, sometimes whimsical, always important, A History of New York in 101 Objects is a beautiful chronicle of the remarkable history of the Big Apple. “The story [Sam Roberts] is telling is that of New York, and he nails it” (Daily News, New York).
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About the author

Sam Roberts is urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times. He is the host of The New York Times Close Up, an hour-long weekly news and interview program on cable channel NY1 that he inaugurated in 1992. He is the author or editor of eight previous books, including a new edition of The Brother. He lives in New York City. Follow @ObjectsofNYC or visit ObjectsofNYC.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Sep 23, 2014
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781476728803
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / Social History
History / United States / State & Local / General
History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“A fresh and fast-paced study of one of the most important crimes of the twentieth century” (The Washington Post), The Brother now discloses new information revealed since the original publication in 2003—including an admission by his sons that Julius Rosenberg was indeed a Soviet spy and a confession to the author by the Rosenbergs’ co-defendant.

Sixty years after their execution in June 1953 for conspiring to steal atomic secrets, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg remain the subjects of great emotional debate and acrimony. The man whose testimony almost single-handedly convicted them was Ethel Rosenberg’s own brother, David Greenglass. Though the Rosenbergs were executed, Greenglass served a mere ten years in prison, after which, with a new name, he disappeared. But journalist Sam Roberts found Greenglass, and then managed to convince him to talk about everything that had happened.

Since the original publication of The Brother, Roberts sued to release grand jury testimony, which further implicates Greenglass and demonstrates how the prosecution was tainted. One of the defendants, Morton Sobell, admitted to Roberts that he and Julius Rosenberg were spies. Furthermore, Michael and Robert Meeropol, the Rosenbergs’ sons, acknowledged to Roberts that although their mother was not legally culpable, that the “secret” to the atomic bomb was not compromised, and that the death penalty was excessive, their father was, in fact, guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Now released with this important new information, The Brother is more than ever, “A gripping account of the most famous espionage case in US history…an excellent book, written with flair and alive with the agony of the age” (The Wall Street Journal).
New York Times Bestseller

In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation, an urgently needed reckoning with the beauty and tragedy of American history.

Written in elegiac prose, Lepore’s groundbreaking investigation places truth itself—a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence—at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas—"these truths," Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, on a fearless dedication to inquiry, Lepore argues, because self-government depends on it. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise?

These Truths tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them. To answer that question, Lepore traces the intertwined histories of American politics, law, journalism, and technology, from the colonial town meeting to the nineteenth-century party machine, from talk radio to twenty-first-century Internet polls, from Magna Carta to the Patriot Act, from the printing press to Facebook News.

Along the way, Lepore’s sovereign chronicle is filled with arresting sketches of both well-known and lesser-known Americans, from a parade of presidents and a rogues’ gallery of political mischief makers to the intrepid leaders of protest movements, including Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist orator; William Jennings Bryan, the three-time presidential candidate and ultimately tragic populist; Pauli Murray, the visionary civil rights strategist; and Phyllis Schlafly, the uncredited architect of modern conservatism.

Americans are descended from slaves and slave owners, from conquerors and the conquered, from immigrants and from people who have fought to end immigration. "A nation born in contradiction will fight forever over the meaning of its history," Lepore writes, but engaging in that struggle by studying the past is part of the work of citizenship. "The past is an inheritance, a gift and a burden," These Truths observes. "It can’t be shirked. There’s nothing for it but to get to know it."

This unique volume uncovers the most fascinating and compelling stories from The New York Times about the city the paper calls home.

More than 200 articles and an abundance of photographs, illustrations, maps, and graphs from the preeminent newspaper in the world take a look at the history and personality of the world's most influential city. Read firsthand accounts of the subway opening in 1904 and the day the Metrocard was introduced; the fall of Tammany Hall and recurring corruption in city politics; the Son of Sam murders; jazz clubs in the 1920s and legendary performances at the Fillmore East; baseball's Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier at Brooklyn's storied Ebbets Field in 1947; the 1977 and 2004 blackouts; the openings and closings of the city's most beloved restaurants; and much more. Not just a historical account, this is a fascinating, sometimes funny, and often moving look at how people in New York live, eat, travel, mourn, fight, love, and celebrate.

Organized by theme, the book includes original writings on all topics related to city life, including art, architecture, transportation, politics, neighborhoods, people, sports, business, food, and more. Includes articles from such well-known Times writers as Meyer Berger, Gay Talese, Anna Quindlen, Israel Shenker, Brooks Atkinson, Frank Rich, Ada Louise Huxtable, John Kieran, Russell Baker, and more. Special contributors who have written about New York for the Times include Paul Auster, Woody Allen, and E.B. White, among others.
The very letters of the two words seem, as they are written, to redden with the blood-stains of unavenged crime. There is Murder in every syllable, and Want, Misery and Pestilence take startling form and crowd upon the imagination as the pen traces the words." So wrote a reporter about Five Points, the most infamous neighborhood in nineteenth-century America, the place where "slumming" was invented.

All but forgotten today, Five Points was once renowned the world over. Its handful of streets in lower Manhattan featured America's most wretched poverty, shared by Irish, Jewish, German, Italian, Chinese, and African Americans. It was the scene of more riots, scams, saloons, brothels, and drunkenness than any other neighborhood in the new world. Yet it was also a font of creative energy, crammed full of cheap theaters and dance halls, prizefighters and machine politicians, and meeting halls for the political clubs that would come to dominate not just the city but an entire era in American politics. From Jacob Riis to Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett to Charles Dickens, Five Points both horrified and inspired everyone who saw it. The story that Anbinder tells is the classic tale of America's immigrant past, as successive waves of new arrivals fought for survival in a land that was as exciting as it was dangerous, as riotous as it was culturally rich.

Tyler Anbinder offers the first-ever history of this now forgotten neighborhood, drawing on a wealth of research among letters and diaries, newspapers and bank records, police reports and archaeological digs. Beginning with the Irish potato-famine influx in the 1840s, and ending with the rise of Chinatown in the early twentieth century, he weaves unforgettable individual stories into a tapestry of tenements, work crews, leisure pursuits both licit and otherwise, and riots and political brawls that never seemed to let up.

Although the intimate stories that fill Anbinder's narrative are heart-wrenching, they are perhaps not so shocking as they first appear. Almost all of us trace our roots to once humble stock. Five Points is, in short, a microcosm of America.
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