Russell Shorto presents Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City
Russell Shorto’s first book, Island at the Center of the World, was hailed as “a tour de force” (Wall Street Journal) for its depiction of the history and pre-history of New Amsterdam, later New York. His new book Amsterdam is an equally engrossing look at the idiosyncratic evolution of his adopted hometown in the Netherlands. Popular notions of Amsterdam aside — tidy canals, hash bars, Rembrandt portraits — the deeper history of Amsterdam is bound up in its unique geography: the constant battle of its citizens to keep the sea at bay, and the democratic and tolerant philosophy that this enduring struggle fostered. The city’s ideology also profoundly influenced early America, giving rise not only to religious dissidents and radical thinkers but to the world's first great global corporation. Shorto reads and discusses his book, cities, geography, and philosophy in one of the highlights of our fall season.