The island at the center of the world: the epic story of Dutch Manhattan & the forgotten colony that shaped America

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In a landmark work of history, Russell Shorto presents astonishing information on the founding of our nation and reveals in riveting detail the crucial role of the Dutch in making America what it is today. In the late 1960s, an archivist in the New York State Library made an astounding discovery: 12,000 pages of centuries-old correspondence, court cases, legal contracts, and reports from a forgotten society: the Dutch colony centered on Manhattan, which predated the thirteen "original" American colonies.  For the past thirty years scholar Charles Gehring has been translating this trove, which was recently declared a national treasure.  Now, Russell Shorto has made use of this vital material to construct a sweeping narrative of Manhattan's founding that gives a startling, fresh perspective on how America began.    In an account that blends a novelist's grasp of storytelling with cutting-edge scholarship,The Island at the Center of the Worldstrips Manhattan of its asphalt, bringing us back to a wilderness island--a hunting ground for Indians, populated by wolves and bears--that became a prize in the global power struggle between the English and the Dutch.  Indeed, Russell Shorto shows that America's founding was not the work of English settlers alone but a result of the clashing of these two seventeenth century powers.  In fact, it was Amsterdam--Europe's most liberal city, with an unusual policy of tolerance and a polyglot society dedicated to free trade--that became the model for the city of New Amsterdam on Manhattan.  While the Puritans of New England were founding a society based on intolerance, on Manhattan the Dutch created a free-trade, upwardly-mobile melting pot that would help shape not only New York, but America.   The story moves from the halls of power in London and The Hague to bloody naval encounters on the high seas.  The characters in the saga--the men and women who played a part in Manhattan's founding--range from the philosopher Rene Descartes to James, the Duke of York, to prostitutes and smugglers.  At the heart of the story is a bitter power struggle between two men: Peter Stuyvesant, the autocratic director of the Dutch colony, and a forgotten American hero named Adriaen van der Donck, a maverick, liberal-minded lawyer whose brilliant political gamesmanship, commitment to individual freedom, and exuberant love of his new country would have a lasting impact on the history of this nation. 
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Grouped Work ID 3d21713a-8d00-7d15-2395-99df5a13ab03
Grouping Title island at the center of the world the epic story of dutch manhattan and the forgotten colony that sh
Grouping Author shorto russell
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-12-12 23:14:36PM
Last Indexed 2018-12-13 00:05:29AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
auth_author2 Ganser, L. J.
author Russell Shorto
author2-role Ganser, L. J.|Narrator
author_display Shorto, Russell
collection_catalog Non-Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Green Hills - Adult Non-Fiction, Main Library - Adult Non-Fiction
display_description A gripping narrative of New Netherland–a story of global sweep centered on a wilderness called Manhattan–that transforms our understanding of early America.
When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, polyglot society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor. But the story of the Dutch colony of New Netherland was merely lost, not destroyed: 12,000 pages of its records–recently declared a national treasure–are now being translated. Russell Shorto draws on this remarkable archive in The Island at the Center of the World, which has been hailed by The New York Times as "a book that will permanently alter the way we regard our collective past."
The Dutch colony pre-dated the "original" thirteen colonies, yet it seems strikingly familiar. Its capital was cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic, and its citizens valued free trade, individual rights, and religious freedom. Their champion was a progressive, young lawyer named Adriaen van der Donck, who emerges in these pages as a forgotten American patriot and whose political vision brought him into conflict with Peter Stuyvesant, the autocratic director of the Dutch colony. The struggle between these two strong-willed men laid the foundation for New York City and helped shape American culture. The Island at the Center of the World uncovers a lost world and offers a surprising new perspective on our own.
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isbn 9780385503495, 9781400078677, 9781400096336, 9781449888855
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local_callnumber_catalog 974.7102 S55977i
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
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primary_isbn 9780385503495
publishDate 2004, 2005, 2011
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subject_facet Donck, Adriaen van der, -- 1620-1655, Downloadable audio books, Dutch Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 17th century, Manhattan (New York, N.Y.) -- History -- 17th century, Minuit, Peter, -- 1580-1638, New York (N.Y.) -- Biography, New York (N.Y.) -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775, New York (N.Y.) -- Politics and government -- To 1898, Stuyvesant, Peter, -- 1592-1672
title_display The island at the center of the world : the epic story of Dutch Manhattan and the forgotten colony that shaped America
title_full The Island at the Center of the World The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, The island at the center of the world : the epic story of Dutch Manhattan and the forgotten colony that shaped America / Russell Shorto, The island at the center of the world [electronic resource] : the epic story of Dutch Manhattan & the forgotten colony that shaped America / Russell Shorto
title_short The island at the center of the world :
title_sub the epic story of Dutch Manhattan & the forgotten colony that shaped America
topic_facet Donck, Adriaen van der, Dutch Americans, History, Minuit, Peter, Nonfiction, Politics and government, Stuyvesant, Peter