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Knickerbocker's History of New York, Vol. 1

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By: (1783-1859)

Knickerbocker's History of New York, Vol. 1 by Washington Irving is a humorous and satirical account of the early history of New York City. The book is written in a mock-historical style, with Irving inventing elaborate tales and characters to entertain the reader.

Irving's wit and humor shine throughout the book, as he pokes fun at the early Dutch settlers and their customs. The characters he creates, such as the bumbling Dutch governor Wouter Van Twiller and the scheming politician William the Testy, are memorable and entertaining.

One of the highlights of the book is Irving's vivid descriptions of New Amsterdam, the bustling trading post that would eventually become New York City. He brings the city to life with his detailed and colorful language, making the reader feel as though they are walking the streets alongside the bumbling Dutch settlers.

Overall, Knickerbocker's History of New York, Vol. 1 is a delightful and entertaining read. Irving's playful humor and clever storytelling make it a charming and enjoyable book for anyone interested in history or just looking for a good laugh.

Book Description:

Washington Irving, an author, biographer, historian, and diplomat, completed his first major work, a satire of contemporary local history and politics entitled A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker in 1809. Prior to its publication, Irving started a promotional hoax (not unlike some modern-day publicity stunts?) by placing fake missing persons advertisements in local newspapers asking for help in locating Diedrich Knickerbocker. As a continuation of the hoax, Irving also published a notice purported to be written by the proprietor of the hotel where Knickbocker was staying, in which he threatened to publish a manuscript “left behind” by Knickerbocker if the hotel bill was not paid. From “The Author’s Apology”: “The main object of my work, in fact, had a bearing wide from the sober aim of history, but one which, I trust, will meet with some indulgence from poetic minds. It was to embody the traditions of our city in an amusing form; to illustrate its local humors, customs and peculiarities; to clothe home scenes and places and familiar names with those imaginative and whimsical associations so seldom met with in our new country, but which live like charms and spells about the cities of the old world, binding the heart of the native inhabitant to his home.” -

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