As a native New Yorker, I was looking forward to looking at this pictorial guide. I suppose what I really wanted to see were early photographs of NYC, but the pastoral images were also appealing. The illustrations are vivid and realistic, so much so that I could swear I was looking at photographs. My only complaint would be that the people in the depictions appear to have been photographed and superimposed on the illustrations. I think the mental disconnect for me is that I know that there were no photographs of New Amsterdam so when I see what looks like a photograph (the images are that good) and it shows people, my brain tells me it’s not possible and I start imagining that these people dressed in costumes to pose for the pictures. I don’t feel like the artwork is impossible, even though the quality is comparable to a photograph. It’s the addition of people that doesn’t work for me. I suspect that if the people had been presented as illustrations (realistic, yet not photographically so), my brain would have more readily accepted the images.
It would be impossible to overstate just how impressive the images in this book are. It is clear that a lot of imagination and care was invested in the creation of this book and the result is truly breathtaking. The captions are informative and remind me of the type of things I read in school textbooks. Of course, with these pictures, the captions are much more interesting.
Based on what I saw, I think this book would be a fun gift for a student learning about the early settlers to New Amsterdam. The pictures help to bring history to life and make it more memorable. Although I saw this book in ebook format, I can imagine that it would make a great coffee table book, one to be shared with lovers of early New York history.
I am a writer, editor, proofreader, and an avid reader.