cover image Maximum City: The Biography of New York

Maximum City: The Biography of New York

Michael Pye. Sinclair-Stevenson,, $29.95 (437pp) ISBN 978-1-85619-093-0

British writer Pye ( The Movie Brats: How the Film Generation Took Over Hollywood ) finds New York City both fascinating and forbidding. In an effort to show what lies behind his adopted city's glamorous mystique, he presents an engaging inquiry into the positive forces that drive New York. Dividing his ``biographical study'' into chapters devoted to such topics as crime, politics, show business, immigration and sex, Pye mixes history with current events. Skillfully written anecdotes describe urban life, such as the St. Patrick's Day parade of the 1790s, municipal graft past and present and bohemian life in the 1920s. Pye draws deft character sketches of both unknown and famous iconoclasts who have made this risky, competitive, frenetic and exciting city their home. Photos. (Jan.)