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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful ride through the history of a great city
I have read and loved all of Edward Rutherfurd's books (starting with Sarum, 20 years ago). "New York" is just as good as any of them. Rutherfurd takes us on a 350 year ride through New York's history, from the 1600s to the present day. The fictional characters are well-developed and interesting and we follow them through multiple generations alongside all of the major...
Published on 8 Oct 2009 by PAUL BRADSHAW

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing New York
Having just finished reading New York I looked up the reviews to see what others felt as I was so disappointed. Knowing that I am an enthusiastic fan of Edward Rutherfurd a friend gave me New York as a present last year, however, it was the hard copy so too large to take on holiday, which is where I do my serious reading. I kept putting off starting it because I was so...
Published on 6 Feb 2011 by Maz C


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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful ride through the history of a great city, 8 Oct 2009
By 
PAUL BRADSHAW (CT, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: New York (Hardcover)
I have read and loved all of Edward Rutherfurd's books (starting with Sarum, 20 years ago). "New York" is just as good as any of them. Rutherfurd takes us on a 350 year ride through New York's history, from the 1600s to the present day. The fictional characters are well-developed and interesting and we follow them through multiple generations alongside all of the major events in New York's history. New Amsterdam, the Dutch, the War of Independence, Tammany Hall, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, through to the inevitable and tragic conclusion at the World Trade Center.

With Rutherfurd's books it feels more like you're living through the history than reading a history book. There are many enjoyable storylines involving the fictional families, with the historical events as a backdrop, and several of them incorporate real characters from history. George Washington, Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Churchill's family, Boss Tweed, and many others, are all here.

At school I thought history was a boring subject. But I found it hard to put this book down, and now that I am finished I will really miss my daily excursions into New York.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb.... Back to Rutherfurd at his best, 9 Nov 2010
By 
Darren Simons (Middlesex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: New York (Paperback)
I make no secret writing this review that I am a fan of Edward Rutherfurd having read nearly all his books to date, starting with London. To those not familiar with Edward Rutherfurd's books he has a very clear and repeated method in writing huge fictional histories of countries or areas. He does this by following the family trees of several families with a backdrop of the history of a particular place, and putting them on the periphery of those historic events. Whilst it may sound a little contrived, for me the method works really well and you end up with a knowledge of the history of a place without reading a text book. Generally this ends up as a series of stories (about 50 pages each) describing something that happened in one generation, and then the next chapter is a story affecting the next generation and any loose ends are tied up.

New York follows this same method starting with the Dutch settlers in New York, going through the War for Independence, the Civil War, the Depression, racism and most recently terrorism. From this perspective if you are new to Edward Rutherfurd's books I would definitely recommend this as a good book to start with.

For those who have read Rutherfurd's books, however, there are some subtle differences in the way this has been written. Firstly rather than following lots of families in parallel Rutherfurd has chosen to focus on just one (the Masters and their predecessors the van Dycks) and there's no doubt the characters in this book are less strong than in the others. Certainly families come and go and there is not the continuity from other books. For me (and I note a lot of the reviews disagree with this) I don't think this detracts from the book at all - New York is much more about the history of the city than the history of the families, and if anything I would compare it to London far more than the other books Rutherfurd has written. Given how much migration has happened both to and from New York over the pass 200 years I think anything else would not have felt realistic.

Secondly the chapters are much shorter... whereas previously each chapter would take in the whole event this time there may be lots of short stories making up a big one (certainly this was true re the chapters about the War of Independence). I think part of this is because the history of New York is so much shorter in time than the other books by Rutherfurd (with the exception of the second Dublin book I guess)

Having previously felt that none of the Edward Rutherfurd books have been as good as London, I think this one most certainly is.

One curious footnote... I read somewhere that this book was started a long time ago (about the time of London) but got shelved until now... it would be interesting to know if the similarity in the books' styles are due to them being written at a similar time or whether it's more a reflection on writing about a big city.

I look forward to what Rutherfurd writes about next.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book!, 14 Nov 2009
By 
E. Duke "e. duke" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: New York (Hardcover)
I could not wait to get my hands on this book. The cover alone pulled me in. I started it exactly two weeks ago and just finished it in the early hours of this morning, literally with baited breath to see if the characters would escape the atrocities of 9/11. I have been savoring this book every night, and I was very sad to end it. It was as if I were saying goodbye to some well loved friends.

This book tells the story of New York through the eyes of a family, down the centuries. I love how the author makes descendants of well loved characters pop up again and again through the years. Even the wampum belt... This book was fantastic.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New York, 21 Nov 2009
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This review is from: New York (Hardcover)
I first saw this book in the airport bookshop, and decided it was too big to fly with me at that moment. I was given it as a present some weeks later and for the past five days, I have been enthralled with the story.
I have enjoyed this book enormously, as I have all the other Rutherfurd novels. I have to say, however, I did find the account of the American War of independence just a wee bit tedious, I think perhaps Mr. Rutherfurd go carried away with that bit, but nevertheless,A cracking good read!!!!
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read, 14 Sep 2009
This review is from: New York (Hardcover)
Edward Rutherfurd has done it again! I took this book on holiday and couldn't put it down. he engages the reader from the first page, bringing alive the history of New York from the early dutch settlers and indians to the present day. His technique of following families down the centuries gives a real sense of the progression of life and one's own place in history.
His style is approachable, readable and informative. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The interconnectedness of things", 16 May 2013
By 
Ripple (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: New York (Paperback)
As with all of Edward Rutherfurd's epic historical sagas, it's impossible not to admire the ambition and breadth of "New York", covering the city from its early Dutch settlement up to post 9/11. Fans of Rutherfurd will recognize the plot device of following a number of families through the generations, taking different social perspectives. Unlike his later "Paris" Rutherfurd takes a strictly chronological approach to "New York". As ever, the research behind the book is impressive and yet, while still a very enjoyable book, it is not, in my view, his strongest novel.

Partly this is because it takes an age to get going not helped by an early switch to the first person narrative of a slave. This was a strange choice of variation in the style and one that is largely unsuccessful. Another issue is that the weighting of the historical periods is a bit lumpy. Thus we spend an age on the War of Independence despite not much happening either nationally or indeed to the chosen families during this period. However, my biggest gripe is that he gives too much page time to the rich Master family. You can understand why in that they represent "old money" New Yorkers, but their view is somewhat rarified and while he does sprinkle stories from the lower levels of society into the narrative, he keeps returning to the Master dynasty and as a result I was left with a very partial feel for the city rather than getting behind what the place means for the majority of its inhabitants.

In many ways, I would have preferred the ending to come on the eve of 9/11 and left more to the readers' imagination but of course that would have dampened Rutherfurd's one true message that New York will survive come what may. However, not only does this lead to a slightly trite ending, it highlights the fact that in other Rutherfurd books, he often gets to very heart of what makes a place the way it is and in "New York", the message is surprisingly simplistic. However, what he evokes well is the way the city feels that it has a life of its own beyond the rest of the USA and he goes a long way to explaining the history of this feeling.

It is then not his best work, but even a slightly off form Rutherfurd is well worth reading and it is far from being a bad book. Despite the usual Rutherfurd epic page count, the stories rattle along. There's even a lovely bit of self awareness when he notes of one of his characters "Novelists liked to imagine the interconnectedness of things - as though all the people in the city were part of some great organism, their lives intertwined". Now whatever gave him that idea?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing New York, 6 Feb 2011
This review is from: New York (Paperback)
Having just finished reading New York I looked up the reviews to see what others felt as I was so disappointed. Knowing that I am an enthusiastic fan of Edward Rutherfurd a friend gave me New York as a present last year, however, it was the hard copy so too large to take on holiday, which is where I do my serious reading. I kept putting off starting it because I was so looking forward to the book that I did not want to spoil it by just reading a few pages here and there. As a consequence I was quite saddened when I did start and quickly found that, in my opinion, it was not nearly as good as London, Sarum, The Forest etc.

I don't feel that concentrating on just the one family was necessarily a problem, it just seemed to lack the depth we have come to expect from the author. Many historical events were almost glossed over, as "his" characters were not specifically affected. It was almost as if Edward R had not done his homework, which is so unusual. The exception was the War of Independence where I agree with a previous reviewer who said that it went on and on! Also his traditional theme of an object surviving the centuries is normally quite fascinating in itself but the Wampum Belt left me a bit cold. After an interesting start it seemed to just pop up when he rememberd it.

I read to the bitter end but instead of enthusing all the way I did struggle. Hopefully Edward Rutherfurd's next epic will be a return to the "old" eye for detail and colourful characters that we have come to love.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, 9 Jan 2011
By 
P. Butler "Book Muncher" (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: New York (Paperback)
I really enjoyed the way I was carried through the years, following one great character, and one great story line after another.

The book goes through 350 years, and so I was impresseed at the way the auther was able to link the characters with events in time.

I'm a great fan of New York City, but was ignorant about it's early history. I was fasinated to read about the foundation of the early settlement by Dutch traiders, and how it was taken over by the British. The attitude of New Yorkers to the Civil War was surprising, and their treatment of freed slaves during the Conscription Riots was horrific.

There are many great human stories here, which I may return to read seperatly - they are that good!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, 31 Oct 2010
This review is from: New York (Paperback)
Firstly I have to say don't be intimidated by the size of this book! (even at over 1000 pages). I had visited New York City about 3 years ago and was fascinated by the idea that someone had written a book charting the history of this truly wonderful city, using ficitonal characters. Whilst, as in some other reviews have stated, that not every fact contained within this novel is strictly historically correct this did not deter me from realising just what a great book this is. To hold anyones attention for this length of book is somewhat masterful on the part of the author. At no point did I feel I wanted to give up or speed read as it is such an interesting book.
The book charts the history of New York through roughly 350 years, taking into account all of the well known incidents in this city as well as some less well known. It is told through the eyes of 5 different families who all make their own different way within this exciting city and it gives a fictional account of each of these families lives but relating to real life events. Now I am the first to admit that I am not usually a reader of historical fiction such as this but I had heard such great things about both this author and this book that I decided to give it a try. That is a decision I will never ever regret as I truly loved this book and put it amongst my top ten. It would certainly encourage me to read more of Edward Rutherfurd's books. If you are perhaps sceptical that a book this length or of this genre could hold your attention from start to finish then I would say don't hesitate to buy it. It is a great read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!, 29 Sep 2010
By 
snow white (London England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: New York (Paperback)
I loved this book!! I haven't read any of his books before, but recognised the author. I started reading, and couldn't put it down. Have recommended to a few friends and warned them not to be put off by the thickness of the book. Going from the first settlers, to modern times, it tells the stories of some families, and how they battle with the Civil war, how Wall Street became, and the Crash of the 20's, through to the Chrysler building and the Twin Towers. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Will definitely read more by this author in the future. Not to be missed.
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New York by Edward Rutherfurd
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