Thomas Campanella – Brooklyn

An unprecedented history of Brooklyn, told through its places, buildings, and the people who made them, from the early 17th century to today

America’s most storied urban underdog, Brooklyn has become an internationally recognized brand in recent decades – celebrated and scorned as one of the hippest destinations in the world. In Brooklyn: The Once and Future City, Thomas J. Campanella unearths long-lost threads of the urban past, telling the rich history of the rise, fall, and reinvention of one of the worlds most resurgent cities.

Spanning centuries and neighborhoods, Brooklyn-born Campanella recounts the creation of places familiar and long forgotten, both built and never realized, bringing to life the individuals whose dreams, visions, rackets, and schemes forged the city we know today. He takes us through Brooklyns history as homeland of the Leni Lenape and its transformation by Dutch colonists into a dense slaveholding region. We learn about English migr Deborah Moody, whose town of Gravesend was the first founded by a woman in America. We see how wanderlusting Yale dropout Frederick Law Olmsted used Prospect Park to anchor an open space system that was to reach back to Manhattan. And we witness Brooklyns emergence as a playland of racetracks and amusement parks celebrated around the world.

Campanella also describes Brooklyns outsized failures, from Samuel Friedes bid to erect the worlds tallest building to the long struggle to make Jamaica Bay the worlds largest deepwater seaport, and the star-crossed urban renewal, public housing, and highway projects that battered the borough in the postwar era. Campanella reveals how this immigrant Promised Land drew millions, fell victim to its own social anxieties, and yet proved resilient enough to reawaken as a multicultural powerhouse and global symbol of urban vitality.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

Author: Thomas Campanella
Narrator: William Hope
Duration: 22 hours 23 minutes
Released: 19 Oct 2009
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Language: English

User Review:

prelate staggering

The main exposition of the first chapter was thrilling, filled with Gopnik’s erudition and felicitous writing, but was occasionally thinky argued. The two strawman chapters – on why the right, then the left, hate liberalism – didn’t deserve treatments equal in length to the main exposition. For all the liveliness of Gopnik’s writing, they dragged a bit, although they built bridges and arrived in good places. The finale more or less summarized an already amply summarized thesis and exposition and ended on both sides of the contemporary dispute but leaning toward hopeful. I wish I were happier at the end than I was on page 82, at the close of the first chapter.

Adam Gopnik is, by the way, a fine narrator who amplified the text by inserting a few words here and there that made his story more conversational and, at times, his intention a bit more clear. I liked that.