Harlem by Jonathan Gill
The Four Hundred Year History from Dutch Village to Capital of Black America

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Synopsis

Harlem is perhaps the most famous, iconic neighborhood in the United States. A bastion of freedom and the capital of Black America, Harlem's twentieth century renaissance changed our arts, culture, and politics forever. But this is only one of the many chapters in a wonderfully rich and varied history. In Harlem, historian Jonathan Gill presents the first complete chronicle of this remarkable place.

From Henry Hudson's first contact with native Harlemites, through Harlem's years as a colonial outpost on the edge of the known world, Gill traces the neighborhood's story, marshaling a tremendous wealth of detail and a host of fascinating figures from George Washington to Langston Hughes. Harlem was an agricultural center under British rule and the site of a key early battle in the Revolutionary War. Later, wealthy elites including Alexander Hamilton built great estates there for entertainment and respite from the epidemics ravaging downtown. In the nineteenth century, transportation urbanized Harlem and brought waves of immigrants from Germany, Italy, Ireland, and elsewhere. Harlem's mix of cultures, extraordinary wealth and extreme poverty was electrifying and explosive.

Extensively researched, impressively synthesized, eminently readable, and overflowing with captivating characters, Harlem is an ambitious, sweeping history, and an impressive achievement.
 

About Jonathan Gill

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A professor of American history and literature, Jonathan Gill has taught at Columbia University, City College New York, and Fordham University, and is currently on the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and Hogeschool van Amsterdam. He has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, and is arts critic at the Holland Times. After more than two decades of living in uptown Manhattan, he moved to Amsterdam.
 
Published February 1, 2011 by Grove Press. 448 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Harlem

Kirkus Reviews

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Holland Times arts critic Gill (American History and Literature/Manhattan School of Music) charts the astonishing transformations, upheavals, revolutions and continual renaissances that have affected the uptown terrain and population for hundreds of years.

Jan 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Harlem: The Four Hundred Year...

The New York Times

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The studio and salon both evolved, Rhodes-Pitts explains, out of Gumby’s singular passion for scrapbooking — his “impulse to compile, collect and curate the detritus of his reality.” Gumby’s efforts ultimately produced an apartment’s worth of materials about the so-called black experience, culmin...

Mar 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Harlem: The Four Hundred Year...

The Wall Street Journal

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Four decades later, the man who defeated him for Harlem's seat, Charles Rangel, was stripped of power by his House colleagues for, among other things, failing to pay his taxes and commandeering four flats in a choice Harlem apartment house.

Feb 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Harlem: The Four Hundred Year...

Kirkus Reviews

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Now Gill offers some insights into the making of Harlem, which Kirkus called “an essential text of American history and culture."

Feb 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Harlem: The Four Hundred Year...

The Washington Post

HARLEM The Four Hundred Year History from Dutch Village to Capital of Black America By Jonathan Gill Grove.

Feb 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Harlem: The Four Hundred Year...

Tampa Bay Times

Remembering his move to Harlem in 1917, Jamaican poet Claude McKay recalled, "Harlem was my first positive reaction to American life.

Feb 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Harlem: The Four Hundred Year...

Bookmarks Magazine

In Harlem, historian Jonathan Gill presents the first complete chronicle of this remarkable place.

From Henry Hudson's first contact with native Harlemites, through Harlem's years as a colonial outpost on the edge of the known world, Gill traces the neighborhood's story, marshaling ...

Feb 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Harlem: The Four Hundred Year...

National Review Online

Books about the history of Harlem have long fascinated me — my favorite being When Harlem Was in Vogue by David Levering Lewis.

Aug 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Harlem: The Four Hundred Year...

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