You Must Remember This: An Oral History of Manhattan from the 1890's to World War II

Jeff Kisseloff, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $24.95 (622p) ISBN 978-0-15-187988-5
In his first book, Manhattan journalist Kisseloff offers a torrent of verbatim recollections by long-time New Yorkers whose memories remain green, ``as time goes by.'' The past emerges here not as history but as lived life in the vivid descriptions of immigrants and their descendants, who populated the widely varied sections of the metropolis. Hardly a melting pot, the city was divided into ethnic enclaves--Jewish, Chinese, Irish, German--each with an individual character. Mostly poor and uneducated, these new Americans were blessed with certain survival techniques, including a healthy sense of humor. There are also reminiscences by privileged citizens, notably the 1920s society flappers, and anecdotes about famous Manhattanites like Eugene O'Neill, Gene Tunney and Billie Holiday. Kisseloff provides graphic descriptions of neighborhoods, then and now, and the origins of such place names as Hell's Kitchen, Murray Hill, Greenwich Village et al. But the lusty, sad, startling, funny, bawdy--even cruel--stories are so immediate one becomes convinced anew that New York is, as the song has it, a wonderful town. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 664 pages - 978-0-8018-6306-6
Paperback - 622 pages - 978-0-8052-0979-2
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