Book Nook: Greater Gotham - a History of New York City from 1898 to 1919, by Mike Wallace

Dec 9, 2017

Back in 1999 Mike Wallace appeared on the program to discuss the first volume of his massive history of New York City. That book ended with the year 1898. Wallace was the co-author of that work. It is a massive volume and was highly praised. The book went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.

The second volume was originally intended to cover the years from 1898 until the end of World War Two. Wallace was the sole author of this second book and he realized that he would need to be slightly less ambitious. He describes this decision during our second interview for the latest installment in this history of New York City-if he had kept with the plan to make it run through 1945 the book would have been an impossibly long 3000+ pages. This book is also something that he believes should be read in printed form on paper that properly reproduces a number of photographs that had rarely been seen before. The quality of the printing and the paper is most impressive. The second book, "Greater Gotham - a History of New York City from 1898 to 1919," is still stupendously large but it was made manageable after Wallace decided to shorten the chronological period to just the 21 year period between 1898 and 1919.

Those datelines are significant. The consolidation of the city took place in 1898 as the city of Brooklyn merged with Manhattan to form the entity that we know today. Wallace takes us through the end of the First World War. This is a fascinating history and I think it will also be recognized for the scholarship and sheer industry that went into it. And hopefully, since much of the work on the third volume has already been completed we won't have to wait another 18 years to see the next one.

The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by five local library systems in southwest Ohio:  the Greene County Public Library,  Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.