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Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898

Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 is a non-fiction book by historians Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace. Based on over twenty years of research, it was published in 1998 by Oxford University Press and won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for History. The second volume, written by Wallace, was published in 2017, covering New York City history from 1898 through 1919.[1] Initial plans were to have the second volume's timeline go through World War II, but due to the amount of material, an upcoming third volume should cover the period from 1920 until 1945.[2]

Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898
First edition cover
Author Mike Wallace
Edwin G. Burrows
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publication date
November 19, 1998
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 1416 pp.
ISBN 978-0-19-511634-2


The book was met with mostly laudatory reviews. In his review for The Atlantic, Timothy J. Gilfoyle called the book "the most comprehensive examination to date of the city's history prior to 1900," saying that "Gotham may rank in importance with the multi-volume works on Thomas Jefferson by Dumas Malone and on the Civil War by Allan Nevins,"[3] while Clyde Haberman in The New York Times wrote that "Burrows and Wallace offer a large-canvas portrait of a city they clearly love. ... [I]t marches relentlessly across the nearly three centuries from the Dutch landing to the emergence of the unified boroughs. The countless topics include, to list but a few, New York's wars with the Indians and its pro-Crown leanings, its financial support for the slave trade and its bloody draft riots during the Civil War, the commercial imperatives and the waves of immigration that constantly redefined it."[4] Publishers Weekly called the work "definitive."[5]


"Gotham" as a term for New York City was coined by Washington Irving in an 1807 November issue of his literary magazine, Salmagundi, based on the legends of the English village of Gotham, whose inhabitants are known for their folly.[6]



Preceded by
Summer for the Gods
Pulitzer Prize for History
Succeeded by
Freedom From Fear