Greater Gotham

A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919

by

In this utterly immersive volume, Mike Wallace captures the swings of prosperity and downturn, from the 1898 skyscraper-driven boom to the Bankers' Panic of 1907, the labor upheaval, and violent repression during and after the First World War. Here is New York on a whole new scale, moving from national to global prominence -- an urban dynamo driven by restless ambition, boundless energy, immigrant dreams, and Wall Street greed.Within the first two decades of the twentieth century, a newly consolidated New York grew exponentially. The city exploded into the air, with skyscrapers jostling for prominence, and dove deep into the bedrock where massive underground networks of subways, water pipes, and electrical conduits sprawled beneath the city to serve a surging population of New Yorkers from all walks of life. New York was transformed in these two decades as the world's second-largest city and now its financial capital, thriving and sustained by the city's seemingly unlimited potential.Wallace's new book matches its predecessor in pure page-turning appeal and takes America's greatest city to new heights.
  • Oxford University Press; September 2017
  • ISBN 9780199723058
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Greater Gotham
  • Author: Mike Wallace
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

"An unprecedented feat, the new gold standard of urban history, GREATER GOTHAM both extends and enhances the achievement of GOTHAM. Employing considerable analytical acuity, Mike Wallace has uncovered the through-lines in New York's story, cutting through the tangle of competing interests with wit, skepticism, nuanced judgment and masterful understanding. It's a tour-de-force of research, synthesis and literary clarity, and is full of surprises and the illumination of dark corners." -- Phillip Lopate
"From Wall Street to immigrant slums, from vaudeville to the Metropolitan Opera, from Tammany Hall to union radicals, Mike Wallace expertly offers a kaleidoscope of New York life in the two pivotal decades in which it emerged as the nation's largest city and center of commerce, culture, and political radicalism. The writing brings it all vividly to life. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the city, or the nation." -- Eric Foner
"The bounty continues! With Greater Gotham, Mike Wallace advances his impossible-to-put-down chronicle of New York City. Combining unmatched knowledge, striking narration, and analytical power, this stunning book is more than a portrait of a city, but a fresh vantage from which to consider the making of twentieth-century America." -- Ira Katznelson
"Scholars, students and all who love New York are indebted to Mike Wallace for extending his command of the city's history into its glory days of the early twentieth century. In accessible and authoritative prose he explains how the city matured into a national and global leader of political, economic, social and cultural expression. A remarkable achievement!" -- Kathryn Sklar, Distinguished Professor Emerita, SUNY Binghamton
"Greater Gotham is an engaging, provocative, highly-informative, and beautifully-written history of New York just as it assumes its position of privilege on the world stage. An indispensable new resource that illuminates and explains how the city we know today came to be." -- Louise Mirrer, President & CEO, New York Historical Society
"Magisterial... [Greater Gotham] sets a standard for urban history, capturing both New York's particularities and its protean dynamism."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"True to its subject, [Greater Gotham is] a monumental work of myriad vantage points."--Kirkus, Starred Review
"A brightly hued kaleidoscope of themes, facts, stories, and characters. Every turn of its cylinder rearranges the shiny bits into new configurations, fresh ways to consider the blink-of-an-eye transformation of New York City into an 'imperial metropolis'... Use the book as an almanac or read it straight through for its many pleasures. The kaleidoscope dazzles with every move of the hand."--American Scholar
"[An] eloquent sequel... Wallace's dynamic contribution to urban history focuses on the marginalised and working class as well as the top one-percent, expanding our vision of the past in innumerable ways."--Jane Ciabattari, BBC Culture
"A reader feels like a participant in this book. Especially for the many lovers of the Big Apple, it is dangerous to 'take a bite' out of a part of Greater Gotham as you cannot stop once you join this history's many different crowds and noise. What better way could one take a journey in an easy chair?"--New York Journal of Books
"Greater Gotham offers a wealth of such experiences. It is this combination of the scholarly and the pop that makes it such a compelling read. The average reader will find herself eager to pick up the book - and not just for bicep curls."--NPR Books
"[Mike Wallace] tells the story of those two decades with encyclopedic sweep and granular detail, but with enough verve and wry humor to make this doorstopper immensely readable. Even weathered aficionados of city lore will find moments of revelation. Newcomers will be fascinated by how it all came to be... New York has always been a work in progress. But the particular years recounted in this essential, absorbing and mostly sprightly history went a long way in shaping the pulsating city we know."--Joseph Berger, New York Times Book Review
"Nobody knows New York history like Wallace, and his tightly organized tome is a masterwork on a crucial period in the city's history. New York as we know it now was forged during this time, and Wallace translates Gotham's grit and gusto to the page perfectly."--Publishers Weekly, Best Books 2017
"Wallace covers everything in this immense and compulsively readable volume: art, architecture, music, politics, finance, theater, civil rights, and, as this part of his story winds down, the odd effects of World War I on the city. The resulting mosaic is as loud and boisterous as the city it describes, a city pushing and lunging and rushing into a new century it fully intended to dominate."--Christian Science Monitor
"A worthy sequel packed with insight and information."--BookPage
"Wallace is a superb writer: he has the experienced scholar's sure sense of what to put in and what to leave out, and his prose has almost breathless forward motion, keeping the reader going page after page after page... Breathtaking in scope and penetrating in detail, Greater Gotham revels in New York's sheer force, energy, and creativity."--City Journal
"These incredible history books read like novels."--Dayton Daily News
"Interweaving the actions of plutocrats, anarchists, striking garment workers, and a host of others, Wallace gives a multifaceted account of the city Marcel Duchamp called 'a complete work of art.'"--New Yorker
"The monumental sequel to the monumental "Gotham covers just 21 years, from the consolidation of New York and Brooklyn to 1919--but what years they were! You might think that doing justice to that period of gilt and misery in more than 1,000 pages might get tedious, but this is a made-for-Netflix epic."--Justin Davidson, Curbed NY
"Wallace packs these and a multitude of other fascinating details into his enormous book, Greater Gotham, which somehow remains astonishingly readable. But he also gets the big picture right-the balance of cultural tensions, the centrifugal exuberance vs. the new forms of power and control... One could not ask for a more thorough or thoughtful guide to the emergence of New York as the Empire City."--Jackson Lears, The New York Review of Books
"Will there ever be a better book about this period? How could there be?... I've spent a couple months with this book already and have found so many new marvels among the pages. I suspect its trove of particular details will continue to enthrall me in years to come."--Greg Young, Bowery Boys
"Beautifully organized, and written with grace and humor."--Architectural Record
"A nuanced and well-written history... Rich in detail and analysis."--Berkshire Eagle
"[Mike Wallace] dispenses wry asides and telling anecdotes with the gusto of a fireside raconteur... Brushstroke by brushstroke, fact by fact, Wallace builds up a portrait of a city full of vitality and injustice, civic narcissism and collective aspiration, a noisy, crowded metropolis that is constantly being raised and ruined at the same time. It's a New York that is both unimaginably different and comfortingly similar to the one I walk through every day."--Justin Davidson, Columbia Magazine
"Mr Wallace's lively style turns an invaluable work of reference into a gripping read. His swift portraits of New York's heroes and villains are vivid and memorable. And like every great work of history, his book casts light on the present: he writes lucidly, for example, of Puerto Rico's economic travails in the aftermath of the Spanish-American war, his account of American colonialism still resonant in 2017. The book is enriched by those who lived in tenements, skyscrapers or Fifth Avenue palaces. Like the city itself, Greater Gotham contains multitudes."--Economist
"Every New Yorker should own Mike Wallace's Greater Gotham--and keep it nearby for resolving disputes, rereading favorite quotes (it has some beauts), indulging in dazzling historical moments, and pondering how we got here from there... Essential."--Untapped Cities
"This is a treasure trove of interesting information that will captivate and reward its readers."--Bowling Green Daily News
"Wallace makes the past present and makes his mark by providing particular attention to marginalized groups such as international and internal immigrants and LGBTQ members... Highly recommended."--CHOICE Reviews
"[Greater Gotham] is a book about New York in all its bewildering particularity, yet it also addresses the sweep of American history in the early 20th century... There can be no doubt that the book is a remarkable scholarly achievement."--The Nation
"Wallace's story of New York's spring forward is wide-ranging and highly detailed... Settle in for a deeply engaging visit to our not-so distant past."--Oculus

About The Author

Mike Wallace is Distinguished Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the director of the Gotham Center for New York City History. He is the co-author of Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History.