Gotham Unbound: An Ecological History of Greater New York | Author: Ted Steinberg | Rating: 8/11 |
As a former Manhattanite, having a special interest in the history of the island (that is New York) is normal. Surely there are many who have lived there, aim to one day live there or are fascinated by the city for one reason of another, and if you fall into this category, you’ll likely agree with much this review. If you don’t take a particular interest in New York City, however, you’ll likely find yourself lost in an onslaught of details and statistics that feel foreign and sterile to you – as such this read may not ultimately appeal to you.
Now that I’ve warned you, let’s get on with the book, shall we?
As mentioned above, Gotham Unbound is awash with details and statistics, from the reclamation of swampland and previously uninhabitable land, to the mass consumption and production of waste. Though the book is specific to the history of Manhattan (or Mannahatta, as it was originally known), a larger underlying theme emerges – one that appeals to a wider range of readers – and that is the interplay between man and his environment. While New York is the basis of story, a lesson of interaction, symbiosis and devastations can be taken and applied to all man-inhabited environments.
In a nutshell, Gotham Unbound piqued my curiosity and satisfied it in a highly interesting read.