I returned this title to the Library yesterday having finished it.  I hadn’t read any of Rutherfurd’s titles since Sarum, his history of Salisbury from the sundering of the English Channel to the fundraising to save Salisbury Cathedral.  Rutherfurd has written several titles based around the histories of localities and the families that live there.  He exposits historical detail directly into his descriptions rather than allows the reader to discover the necessary history in the story telling.  Maybe he is telling us as much about ourselves as the period itself.

New York tells the story of the Master family, a family of merchants, traders and bankers.  I wanted to know a bit about the history of New York, the city which has become the centre of the world, its capital.  I was interested to discover that in the War of Independence I was more sympathetic with the Patriots than the Loyalists.  Natural justice carried me.  I wonder what I would make of Mel Gibson’s movie, The Patriot.  Would I like it as much?

The other interesting period was the Draft Riots of the Civil War when disaffected New Yorkers took their revenge on the city’s black population.  Families come and go from Rutherfurd’s story.  A family of Black slaves and servants disappear from the story after this event.  There is no story from the Civil Rights period in New York in this book.  Characters watch the riots of New York’s blackout from the distance.

It gave me new appreciation of Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale which I picked off the shelf to read parts earlier this year.  Perhaps I will go back to it.  I think I would like to see Gangs of New York sometime.

Music: Charge! by Paul Jenkins.