In 1898, a new metropolis emerged from the consolidation of New York City with East Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the western part of...

In 1898, a new metropolis emerged from the consolidation of New York City with East Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the western part of Queens County. In Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919 (Oxford University Press, 2017), Mike Wallace describes the first two decades of this city’s expanded history, a period in which it led and embodied the developments that were taking place nationally. As he explains, consolidation was a trend throughout America during this era. Big business was at the forefront of this, as Wall Street provided the financing necessary for numerous industries to form dominant corporate combinations through mergers and takeovers. The enormous wealth controlled by these titans was prominent throughout the city, both in the new skyscrapers rising to dominate the city’s skyline and in the cultural and educational institutions that flourished with infusions of their capital. Similar mergers took place in many sectors and aspects of city life, from entertainment to labor, with even the criminal underworld consolidating in a reflection of the times. Wallace’s book chronicles all of this, as well as the developments in the many communities of a richly diverse city that during these years experienced dramatic growth and changes wrought by a global war.

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