Review: Russell Shortos The Island At The Center Of The World
Up to now the preponderant view held by many historians is that Dutch contribution to American history and particularly to that of New York has been one of irrelevancy. As we no doubt realize, the winners write history, and unfortunately, whatever the losers may have contributed, it seems to be lost or forgotten in the shuffle.
Fortunately, during the past thirty years and thanks to the translation of many Dutch records that have been recently discovered pertaining to the early colony of New Netherlands, a different picture has emerged. It is this new perspective that author Russell Shorto has vividly and brilliantly captured in his latest gem of a book entitled, The Island at the Center of the World.
Shorto devotes considerable ink in defending his thesis that the success of Manhattan as a commercial center, or New York, as it was renamed after the British takeover, did not begin with the English but rather had very deep roots in the early Dutch community. It was in fact in the late 1640s that the city of New Amsterdam under Dutch rule began its rise to become North American's shipping hub. Furthermore, one of the key actors who played a pivotal role in the community was, up to now, a long forgotten visionary, Adriaen van der Donck, who often found himself, locked in a power- struggle with Peter Stuyvesant. The latter has always been more recognizable than the former, particularly due to the fact that it was he who surrendered the Dutch colony to the British.
What was very little publicized up to now was that van der Donck had being heavily influenced by the more progressive thinking of some of Europe's most enlightened thinkers as Descartes, Grotius, and Spinoza. It is the freedoms espoused by these thinkers that van der Donck believed in. Eventually, they would find root in the Dutch colony, ultimately becoming the foundation of many of the democratic principles forming the basis of the American cultural, economic and sociological psyche. On the other hand, Stuyvesant, who lacked the same formal education as van der Donck, was stuck in his old tyrannical concepts and narrow- minded prejudices, which effect was to stifle the aspirations of the inhabitants of the Dutch colony. It is fortunate for the USA that the theories and beliefs of van der Donck won out.
As a side note and to indicate the extent of the Dutch influence on American culture, Shorto also reveals such interesting tidbits as what settlers emigrating to the Dutch colony would bring along with them, the derivation of words such as cookies, cole slaw and Santa Claus, that can all trace their roots to the Dutch colony of New Netherlands. We also have an overview and some fascinating insights as to what actually transpired between the Dutch and the English at the time the latter took possession of New Nederland.
Shorto's animated characterizations of individuals and events is consistently enlightening entertaining, informative and balanced, all of which make for a powerful analysis of events that have had an unbelievable influence on American culture, political and economic institutions.
The review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN EDITOR OF BOOKPLEASURES
Norm Goldman is editor of the book reviewing site, Bookpleasures.com and is also editor of the travel site, www.Sketchandtravel.com.
Norm is a regular contributor to many book reviewing sites as well as travel sites.
Norm and his wife Lily are a unique couple as they meld words with watercolors focusing on romantic and wedding destinations.
They are always open to invitations to visit romantic and wedding destinations in New England, Florida and New York.
GOA ? A Carnival of Beaches
The state of Goa on the West coast of India, is located in the coastal belt known as Konkan. While this tourist magnet has much to offer: old churches, carnival atmosphere, Portuguese flavour, wildlife, nature and tantalizing cuisine, yet, mention Goa and the first, often only, image that flashes in one's mind is of the BEACHES.
Journey to Haypress Creek
It was the end of my first year as a graduate student, and my personal stock had risen somewhat due to long hours of hard work. Now a fabulous opportunity presented itself in the form of a research project in the northern Sierras in a locality known as Haypress Creek, which fell into my lap as a result of shifting academic fortunes. The hapless fellow who had been slated to go began an academic tailspin despite the initial excitement generated in the department by his excellent undergraduate grades. Meanwhile, my long hours of diligent work that first semester, in contrast to undergraduate grades that had not only failed to generate excitement among the faculty, but had gained grudging admittance on a probationary status, captured the slot. Good, graduate school had been an all-or-nothing proposition on which everything was gambled on making a success of the first semester.
A meal in Greece is highlighted with a selection of hot and cold plates known as mezedes. Soups are few but they are meals by themselves.
Student Travel ? Backpacking In Europe
For the fortunate few, life isn't complete without a backpacking trip through Europe. This right of passage is believed to further the maturation process of college students, according to sociologists. Of course, others have opined that copious amounts of alcohol, sun and Amsterdam have something to do with it. Regardless of your purpose, you still have to figure out what to take.
Side-Tripping in Montana
Nightlife in Big Sky, Montana is more exciting than you would think. Especially for a pair of happy-go-lucky California girls in town just for the heck of it, on a spur-of-the-moment vacation in search of a Western adventure. Not the kind of west-coast adventure you'd find on a sunny San Diego beach covered with half-nude bodies dripping with SPF 15 tanning lotion. Or the kind you'd find on a Big Bear ski slope watching bikini babes race down the black diamond hills with sun screen-covered noses.
Kerala Backwaters - Gently Down the Stream
The quaint little balcony was large enough to accommodate two cane chairs, a table and little else. To reach it we had to climb over the ledge of our bedroom window and since the projection had no protective railing we had to be careful not to trip or fall over into the water below. Yes, the compact little perch had been grafted onto the side of our houseboat which drifted down the Backwaters of Kerala, the vibrant, living, 1500 km network of canals, estuaries and lakes that serve as the highways, by-ways and lifeline of the people who live along its banks.
Discover Knotts Berry Farm
Of course you know about Southern California's premier attraction, Disneyland in Anaheim, but did you know that less than ten (10) minuets down the freeway, in Buena Park, is another great amusement park, Knott's Berry Farm.Knott's Berry Farm, America's first theme park, is located at 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, CA 90620, telephone number (714) 220-5200 and has over one hundred fifty (150) rides in six themed areas: Ghost Town, Fiesta Village®, The Boardwalk, Indian Trails, Wild Water Wilderness® and Camp Snoopy which is the official home of Snoopy and the Peanuts characters. The park is home to the high-flying 3,125 foot Silver Bullet roller coaster which sends riders climbing to a height of 146 feet and soaring back down an initial drop of 109 feet. It has a top speed of fifty five (55) miles per hour and riders will experience spirals, corkscrews, a cobra roll, and overbanked curves. It is also home to the 118 foot tall GhostRider, one of the longest and tallest wooden roller coasters in the world with a 108-foot initial banked drop, 13 additional drops, sudden dips, banked turns and maximum G-forces of 3.14Wild Water Wilderness is home to Bigfoot Rapids which "is a thrilling, outdoor whitewater river raft ride that will bounce, toss, spin and splash passengers as they brave fast moving currents and dodge soaring geisers as they experience the unforgettable fun of shooting the rapids". Towering cliffs, huge boulders, cascading water falls, soaring geysers and trees, shrubs and wild flowers--all indigenous to California--combine to create an authentic setting for Bigfoot Rapids. At Camp Snoopy, the whole family can enjoy many of the rides, "made for the young and the young-at-heart. Ride our new Charlie Brown Speedway, or Woodstock's Airmail (the kid-size version of Supreme Scream®), have the kids take you for a spin at Rocky Road Truckin' Company, or check out Timberline Twister the smallest of our rollercoaster family".The park holds numerous restaurants and shops and has it's own first class hotel, The Knott's Berry Farm Resort Hotel, which offers a variety of packages to suit your needs, including Snoopy themed rooms for children where Snoopy himself will visit and provide "tuck in" service.Check out Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant, where 20,000,000 guests have eaten Mrs. Knott's traditional chicken dinners. "Each dinner is made from the "just-right" plump birds she insisted upon, and the fixin's still include lighter-than-air buttermilk biscuits, fluffy mashed potatoes, rich chicken gravy and mouth-watering farm-fresh vegetables". The menu features other items as well including various lunch and dinner entrees, soups, salads, sandwiches and a complete Farm breakfast featuring French toast, pancakes, and daily specials.Knott's Berry Farm is an amusement park and resort for the whole family, try it.For more information about the city of Buena Park, California see http://buenapark.usacitydirectories.com, a directory of links to city of Buena Park, California guides and directories listing hotels, restaurants, information, resources, services, things to do, places to go and more.
Lake Jipe straddling Tanzania and Kenya
So unknown is this treasure of Lake Jipe not many Tanzanians know of its existence or location. Sandwiched between the Pare mountains and Kilimanjaro this small lake [30 km sq] straddles the border between Kenya and Tanzania. This lake has a many water birds and is one of the few places in East Africa that the Lesser Jacana and Purple Gallinule are common. Also Madagascar Squacco Herron, Black Herron, African Darter and African Skimmer are often seen here.
The Price of Gas Really Doesnt Matter!
"The good news is that there is no reason to cower in the corner of your RV trying to avoid the gasoline bogeyman," asserts Carol White, author of Live Your Road Trip Dream ? Travel for a year for the cost of staying home. "While none of us are thrilled about the new reality of gas prices, this is not a reason to cancel your travel plans, particularly if you are planning that dream trip of a lifetime."
Top Five African Safari Destinations
Any vacations in Africa will not be complete without going on a safari to experience the wild animals and the peace and tranquillity of the bushveld.
Creative Camp Cooking - Part 2
In a previous article, I wrote primarily about box ovens. With this article, we will consider a couple of other ideas that can also make your camping meals fun and enjoyable.
Mount Chimborazo: Climbing Glaciers Near The Equator
The climb up the glaciers to the summit of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador isn't considered highly technical. Technically, it is mountaineering, but how hard could it be, considering that I went to 20,600 feet the first time I used crampons and an ice axe? Okay, I had used them once for practice, on a sledding hill near my house. I climbed almost forty feet while people walked by with their sleds, warning their kids to stay away from me.
Mystic Seaport Captured ? Links to Our Past Guide, Part 3
Mystic Seaport celebrates the seafaring past of New England. Known as The Museum of America and the Sea, the seaport is an entertaining journey through 19th century nautical life.
Plymouth Plantation and Mayflower ? Links to Our Past Guide, Part 1
Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II ship are major attractions in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Authentic yet entertaining the two are links to our past and the 102 passengers that survived the journey across stormy seas.
Camping For Fun
Camping for fun is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and relax. But before going camping you will need to purchase camping equipment one of the better places to get the gear you need is at camping world.
The Wandle Trail - Map and Illustrated Guide
The Wandle offered wonderful trout fishing up to the latter part of the last century. The Wandle Trail was established by the Wandle Group in association with the Wandle Industrial Museum in September 1988, launched with a walk with over 200 participants, led by Colin Saunders. 'The Wandle Trail Map and Guide' was put together in 1996 by the Wandle Industrial Museum with the support and help of London Borough of Merton, and sponsorship from Brown and Root.
Ultralight Backpacks - The Lightest
Why ultralight backpacks? Devotees of ultralight backpacking know you reduce your packweight most by concentrating on the "big three;" backpack, shelter, and sleeping bag. Forget those 6-pound backpacks, 9-pound tents and 5-pound sleeping bags. Reduce that 20 pounds to less than 5, keep the other gear to 5 or 6 pounds, and you can chuck the hot and heavy hiking boots, put on the running shoes, and start enjoying those trails.
Bird Watching Journals ? Preserve Your Bird Watching Experiences
Bird Watching is a great way to escape the rat race and be one with nature. Alas, your bird watching experiences can fade with time. The best way to prevent this is to keep a bird watching journal for your sightings and trips.
Why Should You Use Hiking Poles?
Why should you use hiking poles is perhaps the first question that may strike in your mind especially when you are a beginner. To get the right answer for this question you need to consider two things i.e. Safety and Comfort. Hiking poles are just balancing sticks which help you maintain good balance that is closely related to your overall safety and comfort. When you use two poles you move as you have four legs which allow you better comfort and safety. Experts say that by using hiking poles you switch to 4x4 mode of driving, using your two legs and two hands.
Backpacking Trips - Ten Essential Items
I've had backpacking trips that included rain, snow, lightning, rockslides, altitude sickness, and twenty-mile days - all in a summer weekend. Wilderness trips can be dangerous, but you can make then less so, by having the following ten essentials in your backpack.
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