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When Brooklyn Was The World The book When Brooklyn Was The World, 1920 - 1957 by Elliot Willensky covers several historical issues concerning the development of NY City region called Brooklyn during 1920 - 1957 years. These were the times when lots of immigrants came over to the state and settled in Brooklyn area because this was the closest to the coast area that could accommodate people back than. In order to show his core impression that goes along with reading the book, the author writes: There was a time when merely the mention of the name Brooklyn would evoke a snicker, in some cases even a guffaw... Hardly a film was made about the war that didnt feature at least one cocky draftee with an ethnic moniker talking in a working-class dialect, chewing gum and grubbing cigarettes. Invariably, when he announced his hometown- with pride- it was Brooklyn. Laughter. (Willensky) I would like to say a few words about the author of the book, because this will give a better understanding of the background of the person who has created such masterpiece in historical narrative of the history of Brooklyn in 20 th Century.
Ellit Willensky, wh nw lives in the community f Brklyn Heights, serves as the facially appointed Bush Historian f Brklyn and as Vice-Chairman f the Landmarks Preservation Commission f the City f New York. The bush enjoyed a pst-World War I building bm, with psh new apartment buildings, an acclaimed redesigned library and new retailers. During the Raring 1920 s, mre than 500, 000 people me int Brklyn. Cney Island literally became Americas Playground; Sigmund Freud visited the Dreamland amusement park, and Charles Lindbergh re the Cycle rules caster.
Brklyn-brn author Ellit Willensky, wh later became bush historian, recalled the halcyon days f the early t mid- 20 th century in a mostly titled bk: When Brklyn Was The World. Willensky's work has four main sections. The first, not surprisingly, takes in Brooklyn's growth as an international commercial center in the colonial period, conveying through anecdotes and statistics the city's essential links with the southern slave trade and the effect these ties had on pre-revolutionary race relations between Brooklyn's small black community and its larger, ethnically-diverse white counterpart. While far superior to Connolly's perfunctory treatment, Willensky's analysis of the pre-revolutionary era is still the authors weakest due to his tendency to treat Brooklyn's people and daily lives as almost tangential to his analysis of race and socio-economic power.
In attempting to generalize about race relations in Brooklyn, Willensky relies too heavily on the marriage and property records of a handful of slave-holding families from Brooklyn and tends to over-hypothesize from fairly predictable property transfers and accounts. The central theme developed by the author in his wrk is the theme f the history f Brklyn area and f its inhabitants. The immigration issues were the nes t consider strongly during the time period and Willensky als covered that. With a brilliant, entertaining text and hundreds f exciting, nostalgic photographs (many never before published), When Brklyn Was the World recovery the history f this lively city, as remembered by the millin's f people wh knew Brklyn in its golden era.
The strength of Willensky's examination of the colonial period lies in his excellent depiction of Brooklyn as an essentially southern city, both culturally and socio-economically. While Robert Albion and Harold Woodman among others have also argued this point, they have done so largely in connection with Man hastens political or economic evolution, either for the pre-revolutionary era or for the nineteenth century. Willensky effectively links long-standing political interpretations of Brooklyn's growth with their logical social and urban consequences in a broad synthesis for both periods. While Willensky's study represents an important contribution to the literature on the history of urban race relations, the author missed a unique opportunity through a less-than-rigorous treatment of the relevant historiography and central theoretical issues involving class. Willensky briefly discusses in the introduction several landmark works on race in the colonial and antebellum periods including studies by Edmund Morgan, Winthrop Jordan and Barbara Fields. However, the author is oddly silent on more relevant examinations of the black urban experience.
The author makes no attempt to draw comparisons with the rise of black ghettos in New Yorks other boroughs or, for that matter, in other cities. The works of Thomas Lee Philpott, Allan Spear, Kenneth Kusmer, and others are not referenced, and the notable omission of Gilbert Osofskys work on Harlem is particularly troubling. Fr Brklyn, the years between 1920 and 1957 were a special time. It was in 1920 that the subway system reached t Brklyn's user edge - linking the entire bush with Manhattan and making it an ideal spt fr millin's f new families t build their hme's. The end f the era came in 1957 - the last year that Brklyn's beloved Ddgers played at Ebbets Field before moving t sunny California.
Fr many local fans the fate f Dem Bums represents the fate f Brklyn. Thats when Brklyn was als the Ddgers. The Yankees played in the Box, and the Giants played in Manhattan, but they were New York teams. The Ddgers played in Brklyn, and they were Brklyn's team. Fr a nickel n the subway and 50 cents fr a seat in the bleachers, Ebbets Field was the brugh's mecca. It was nt unusual fr the players - all known by nicknames like Duke, Pee Wee, Campy - t share the subway with fans headed t the ballpark.
Many f the players rented hme's in Brklyn frm the same people wh filled Ebbets Field. When the Ddgers defeated the hated Yankees in 1955, the bush celebrated. And when they departed tw years later fr Ls Angeles, the bush reeled. Tens f thousands f Brklynites flower the Ddgers westward ver the next 40 years; the bush population is do abut 700, 000 since Jackie Robinson be baseballs clr line by walking nt Ebbets Field in 1947. Fr years it seemed the bush might never bunce back. T this day, Brklyn remains the nly American community f 2 million people with its wn daily newspaper, may airport r professional sports team.
Typically, when the city underwent a stretch f racial tennis in recent years, it was Brklyn that symbolized its wes. The 1989 murder f a black teen-ager line t buy a car in a white Brklyn neighbored sent ff shockwaves. The author shw's the historical concept and with the concept f the lives f people that lived in the area during the time period. Willensky highlights the issues f black gangsters that were als a part f Brklyn inhabitants during the time period. A situation is feed fr perceiving by the author when a motorcade carrying the head f the Lubavitcher Hasidic sect accidentally struck and killed a black youth.
Three days f riting flower these events. Things are changing, though fr the better. In the East New York sectin, nce a symbol f urban despair, homicides are do frm 129 in 1993 t 27 in 1997. This summer, downtown Brklyn is scheduled t get a 384 -rm htel as part f a $ 228. 3 million complex called Renaissance Plaza. And Cney Island, a report get mostly t seed, is in line fr a verbal. A $ 100 million private investment could return the area t its past gay - a project that makes the local wrld.
In my pain this bk was really brilliant. This is because it shw's ff many historical cncept's that were nt known fr me in detail, fr example the stre's n wheels, which I have never seen before. Als sme photographs that were available f the sights as they like several decades ag were pretty interesting t me. The leisure time that is possible t spend at Brklyn was als the nes t admire according t the author.
Related, throughout, the author traces black Brooklynites constrained access to work as one of the most invidious and long-standing trends in the region's history. Despite continued emphasis on labor relations, however, Willensky fails to address the growth of a black working class whose interests are distinct from those of the black elite. Willensky avoids discussing what Joe William Trotter has termed black proletarian ization. Willensky's study would have benefited from closer attention to class dynamics within the black community as discussed in the works of Trotter, Earl Lewis, Elizabeth Clark-Lewis and Kimberly Phillips. Willensky missed an opportunity to place his study within the broader literature on ghetto formation and the growth of the black working class, a more directly relevant body of work than the more general historiography of race in America. Fortunately, Willensky's study transcends these historiographical and methodological limitations.
A Covenant with Color should appeal to a broad audience of scholars and students of the African American experience both for its deft interweaving of personal with broadly demographic data and for Willensky's unusually compelling narrative style. Bibliography: Ellit Willensky, When Brklyn Was The World, 1920 - 1957. New York: Harmony Bks, 1986.
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