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Imprint

  • Abacus
  • Little, Brown

Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City

Russell Shorto

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Prose: non-fiction, History

This is the first 'biography' of the city of Amsterdam - in the same vein as Peter Ackroyd's London.

Amsterdam is not just any city. Despite its relative size it has stood alongside its larger cousins - Paris, London, Berlin - and has influenced the modern world to a degree that few other cities have. Sweeping across the city's colourful thousand year history, Amsterdam will bring the place to life: its sights and smells; its politics and people.

Concentrating on two significant periods - the late 1500s to the mid 1600s and then from the Second World War to the present, Russell Shorto's masterful biography looks at Amsterdam's central preoccupations. Just as fin-de-siecle Vienna was the birthplace of psychoanalysis, seventeenth century Amsterdam was the wellspring of liberalism, and today it is still a city that takes individual freedom very seriously.

A wonderfully evocative book that takes Amsterdam's dramatic past and present and populates it with a whole host of colourful characters, Amsterdam is the definitive book on this great city.

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