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City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam…

City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan (original 2001; edition 2002)

by Beverly Swerling (Author)

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5821426,222 (3.89)36
In 1661, Lucas Turner, a barber surgeon, and his sister, Sally, an apothecary, stagger off a small wooden ship after eleven weeks at sea. Bound to each other by blood and necessity, they aim to make a fresh start in the rough and rowdy Dutch settlement of Nieuw Amsterdam; but soon lust, betrayal, and murder will make them mortal enemies. In their struggle to survive in the New World, Lucas and Sally make choices that will burden their descendants with a legacy of secrets and retribution, and create a heritage that sets cousin against cousin, physician against surgeon, and, ultimately, patriot against Tory. In what will be the greatest city in the New World, the fortunes of these two families are inextricably entwined by blood and fire in an unforgettable American saga of pride and ambition, love and hate, and the becoming of the dream that is New York City.… (more)
Title:City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan
Authors:Beverly Swerling (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2002), Edition: Reprint, 592 pages
Collections:Loaned from Library
Tags:Historical Fiction

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City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan by Beverly Swerling (2001)



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Family saga of a brother and sister and their descendants, from the arrival of the pair in New Amsterdam to succeeding generations in New York City through the American Revolution. In each of the generations there are surgeons, physicians and apothecaries: [healers through herbal medicine]. We follow their joys and sorrows. Too much sex bothered me but the city came to life in all its incarnations. The family tree in the front of the novel was a very big help and I referred to it often. The descriptions of 17th and 18th century medicine were ghastly. But some new techniques were tried: inoculation against smallpox, blood transfusion.

Recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Feb 3, 2019 |
City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling is a multi-generational family saga that details the growth of New York City between the years of 1661 to 1798, spanning over 130 years. With such a huge background and time period to cover, the novel does seem a little choppy at times as we meet characters only to have them dropped in order to jump ahead 30 - 40 years. The book opens with main characters Lucas Turner and his sister Sally, who arrive in the New World when the city is still under Dutch control. Lucas is a barber & surgeon by trade, and each subsequent generation carries on the family’s medical traditions.

As this family grows together, fights, splinters and turns against each other in vicious revenge, we also see the emergence of New York City as a major concern in the American colonies. The author covers some little known details about New York such as the original importance of the slave trade, to the constant fear of slave revolts. Story lines cover a variety of subjects from political ties to the running of whorehouses, trading guns to the Indians and the beginning stirrings of revolutionary fever, through the Revolutionary War and the years immediately after it. Of course, the main focus is on medicine, and the author goes into great depth to show how difficult this science was to advance against the superstitions and fears of the day. While this wasn’t a story that totally absorbed me or that I even liked for much of the time, I am in awe of the detailed research that the author must have done.

As we read of the evolving science of medicine, we can also see the growth of a small town into the beginnings of the mighty city that New York was destined to become. City of Dreams is the first book of a trilogy about New York, but at this time I am not sure if I will continue on. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 28, 2015 |
An engaging novel set in early New York about the first generations of a family of gifted surgeons and healers. Interesting parallels with modern times with the ignorance and prejudice of the public against vacinations. ( )
  Joanne53 | Sep 26, 2014 |
Finished read in 2013 ( )
  ACrain | Jul 15, 2014 |
After seeing the book's title, the lovely watercolor on the cover, and the first chapters, I was initially enchanted with this book. But the writing and editing quality drop quite dramatically after that point, which also happens to be the beginning of some new, controversial content. My (amateur) hunch is that the book was "rushed" into publication owing to this content--and although I welcome the new information, I'll wait until it is presented in a "readable" format. ( )
  Diane-bpcb | Jan 21, 2014 |
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For Michael, our forever darling boy. Hasta la proxima, entonces, mi nino
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Eleven weeks in a ship thirty-seven feet long by eleven wide, carrying a crew of nine as twenty passengers.
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