Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City (Paperback)

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Description


In this effortlessly erudite account, Russell Shorto traces the evolution of one of the world's greatest cities. From the building of its first canals in the 1300s, through the brutal struggle for Dutch independence and its golden age as the capital of a vast empire, to its complex present in which its cherished ideals of liberalism are under siege, Shorto provides an ever-surprising, intellectually entertaining story of Amsterdam. He also weaves in his own experiences of his adopted home. In the end, Amsterdam is an endlessly captivating portrait of a city that has profoundly influenced the modern world. 

About the Author


Russell Shorto is author, most recently, of Descartes’ Bones and The Island at the Center of the World and is a contributing writer at the The New York Times Magazine. His books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards. From 2008 to 2013, he was the director of the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam.

Praise for Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City…


“This finely spun and illuminating history of Amsterdam explores both a city and an idea. . . . A pleasure to savor on many levels.”
—The Seattle Times
 
“Rich and eventful. . . . [A] book that easily fuses large cultural trends with intimately personal stories.”
The New York Times
 
“An absorbing history of a fascinating place.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“[A] masterpiece.”
The Daily Beast
 
“Engaging new history. . . . It brims with the sights, smells and sounds of a nearly thousand-year-old bustling, mercantile city. . . . Countless books have been written about Holland’s capital city. . . . [Shorto’s] contribution stands as a sparkling addition to the lot.”
—Associated Press

“Shorto’s brilliant follow-up to his previous book on Dutch Manhattan (The Island at the Center of the World) is an expertly told history of a city of new, shocking freedoms and the tough-minded people that developed them.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Insightful history. . . . Mr. Shorto masterfully describes how Amsterdam was built in only a few generations by reclaiming water from the sea, literally by hand in the 1600s. And he brings to life how the city attracted—with promises of freedom and tolerance—the most energetic people from all over Europe to create a free civic and economic society that became a model for the American Republic a century later.”
—Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner, The Wall Street Journal, Favorite Books of 2013

“Entertaining history.”
The New Yorker

“Delightfully eccentric history. . . . Eye-opening and entertaining, it's popular history of the best sort.”
—Michael Giltz, Favorite Books of the Year, Huffington Post

“Sometimes it’s clear from the off that a book is special, and that indefinable sense took hold quickly here. . . . An enthralling tale of radicalism and tolerance of strange and otherwise anathema beliefs and ideas.”
—Alex Crowley, Best Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly

“Masterful reporting, vivid history—the past and present are equally alive in this book.”
—James Gleick, author of The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood

“Shorto is an excellent storyteller and rootler of strange facts, and Amsterdam should be issued as standard kit for anyone visiting the city.”
The Guardian (UK)

“Russell Shorto writes engagingly about how a city can engender ideas—order, tolerance, comfort, egalitarianism, entrepreneurship—and in turn be shaped by them. Amsterdam argues convincingly that Western liberalism has been greatly influenced by this small, modest, crazy-yet-conventional place.”
—Witold Rybczynski, author of How Architecture Works: A Humanist’s Toolkit

“An often brilliant, and always enjoyable, investigation of liberalism’s Dutch roots. Shorto is once again revealed as a passionate and persuasive historian of culture and ideas.”
—Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland

“Russell Shorto loves Amsterdam, I love this book.”
—Job Cohen, former mayor of Amsterdam

“Luminous. . . . An entertaining history full of deftly drawn characters and intoxicating ideas which have made Amsterdam the birthplace of liberalism in its many and shifting incarnations.”
—Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor & Publisher, The Nation

“[A] smart, elegant book. . . . A wonderfully readable account of the city that Shorto has come to call home.”
—Charles C. Mann, author of 1491 and 1493

“Vigorous, erudite and eminently readable.”
Kirkus Reviews

Product Details ISBN-10: 0307743756
ISBN-13: 9780307743756
Published: Vintage, 08/12/2014
Pages: 368
Language: English