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Posted on September 30th, 2012, by

The New York City is one of the largest cities of the USA, which is characterized by the unique culture and its history has always been extremely interesting not only for specialists but also for ordinary people who simply want to know more about the city, which is renowned and recognizable worldwide and which has actually become a symbol of the USA. In spite of the variety of books devoted to the history of New York, there are not so many books that convey the original, true history of New York in the second half of the 20th century, which was a really turbulent epoch that changed the city dramatically. In this respect, the book “New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg”¯, written by Marshall Berman and Brian Berger, is particularly noteworthy because the book does not simply convey the history of New York since the 1970s but it also illustrates the history for it contains about 230 photographs, which are documentary evidences of the historical development of New York in the late 20th century.

The authors focus their attention on the development of New York and its history since the 1970s. The main goal of the authors is apparently to reveal the changes that have taken place in New York since that epoch till present days. In this respect, it should be said that the authors attempted to convey the authentic atmosphere of New York concentrating their attention on the 1970s ”“ 1980s, which were particularly significant in regard to socio-cultural changes in the city.

In this respect, the essay “Who Walk in Brooklyn”¯ by Brian Berger is particularly noteworthy because the author conveys the authentic atmosphere of New York and the routine life of New Yorkers, namely those people who lived in Brooklyn. The author reveals the fact that seeming stability of the life in New York was deceptive, while the real life in Brooklyn was highly controversial that can be seen from the depiction of the small daily life depicted by the author, black cultural empowerment, civil rights movement and crime. All these controversies had mixed up in Brooklyn, which constituted an integral part of New York. In addition, Berger provides photos of New York which enhance the realism of essays comprising the book.

At the same time, Berman, in his essay “On the Town: One Hundred Years of Spectacle”¯, conveys his personal opinion on the development of New York, which he depicts as a city of contrasting trends, where democracy, peace and harmony had unraveled in the 1970s-1980s which had marked the progress of civil rights movement and struggle of ethnic minorities for their rights.

However, the authors do not provide the audience with a homogeneous view on the history of New York at the epoch because the entire book comprises essays of people who were eyewitnesses of the New York history since the 1970s. In this respect, it should be said that different contributors have a different view on the history of New York and interpretation of events and their effects that took place in the past. As a result, the essays can differ from un-nostalgic, critical essays, such as the one written by Leonard Green to highly formal essays such as the essay written by Richard Metze, in which the author simply lists authors and books titles to describe the development of literary culture in New York, which rather resembles a kind of official report than a true essay. In addition, Ed Koch in his essay conveys the existing relations between representatives of different ethnic groups. His essay shows that the tense relations between representatives of different ethnic and racial groups were the characteristic of New York and many contradictions and conflicts persist till present days.

Thus, in conclusion, it should be said that “New York Calling: from Blackout to Bloomberg”¯ is a interesting book conveying the history of New York through essays of people living in this city and knowing its history since it was the history of their life.

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