Book Review: Brooklyn: The Once and Future City

Reading about a whole city; from it’s past to its existence, was draining to say the least. About 400 years of history condensed into one book is not an easy task but Thomas J. Campanella does a wonderful job in his novel Brooklyn: The Once and Future City.

Campanella covers how Brooklyn was founded, how it it grew, and who helped shape the wonderful city. He also tells us about how Brooklyn got its street design, its parks, houses, and various stuff in between. Did you know Brooklyn had three race horsing tracks at the same time in the early 1900s? You will find out why we don’t have them anymore and other stuff that almost came to fruition but didn’t in the end.

There are a lot of wonderful gems in this book and if you want to find out unique stuff about Brooklyn. Brooklyn has a rich history that one book cannot cover justly and is a great bridge-way to other novels. Campanella also covers modern historians and shows how we are still discovering so much about Brooklyn even today.

There is a lot of history and not all of it is going to be interesting. There is a lot of talk about highways and you’ll hate that word passionately after reading this book. But it is a legacy of Brooklyn and it makes sense considering how many highways it has. It makes sense though because you can’t talk about Robert Moses without talking about his highways and parks and how he changed New York City with his ambitious plans.

It is a big book and may take a while to finish and there is a lot of stuff to absorb. I had to pace myself to finish it and also look up certain things I came across that I found interesting. It made me realize how much history is around us and how amazing history is. If you are curious or love history, then this is a great novel for you.

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