With more than three million foreign-born residents today, New York has been America s defining port of entry for nearly four centuries, a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. Read more...
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With more than three million foreign-born residents today, New York has been America s defining port of entry for nearly four centuries, a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. These migrants have brought their hundreds of languages and distinct cultures to the city, and from there to the entire country. More immigrants have come to New York than all other entry points combined.City of Dreams is peopled with memorable characters both beloved and unfamiliar, whose lives unfold in rich detail: the young man from the Caribbean who passed through New York on his way to becoming a Founding Father; the ten-year-old Angelo Siciliano, from Calabria, who transformed into Charles Atlas, bodybuilder; Dominican-born Oscar de la Renta, whose couture designs have dressed first ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama. Tyler Anbinder s story is one of innovators and artists, revolutionaries and rioters, staggering deprivation and soaring triumphs, all playing out against the powerful backdrop of New York City, at once ever-changing and profoundly, permanently itself. City of Dreamsprovides a vivid sense of what New York looked like, sounded like, smelled like, and felt like over the centuries of its development and maturation into the city we know today."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Anbinder (Five Points), a professor of history at George Washington University, traces the history of New York City’s immigrant groups from the earliest Dutch settlers to the waves of Caribbean and Chinese immigrants who have more recently made their mark on the city, spinning a tale of tragedy and triumph that comes with political teeth. Anbinder adeptly shows that the same fears that dominate 21st-century debates on immigration were alive and well in earlier eras, arguing persuasively that 19th-century immigrant communities were far more insular and impregnable than their present-day counterparts. In fact, so discrete were these ethnic neighborhoods that a Jew leaving the familiar confines of the Lower East Side or an Italian venturing north of Washington Square was said to be “going to America.” Anbinder is a master at taking a history with which many readers will be familiar—tenement houses, temperance societies, slums—and making it new, strange, and heartbreakingly vivid. The stories of individuals, including those of the entrepreneurial Steinway brothers and the tragic poet Pasquale D’Angelo, are undeniably compelling, but it’s Anbinder’s stunning image of New York as a true city of immigrants that captures the imagination. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary. (Oct.)