Book Review: Amsterdam by Geert Mak

Author:Geert Mak
Title: Amsterdam
Publication Info: Harvard University Press (1999)
ISBN: 0674003314


This is a highly-readable history of eight centuries of the history of Amsterdam.  Dutch journalist Mak makes great use of hooks upon which to build each chapter of Amsterdam’s history such as an archaeological artifact, a sketch by Rembrandt, primary source writings, paintings and photographs.   I get the sense that the translation is a bit off in places and the place names are hard for an Anglophone out-of-towner to keep up, but these things largely do not impede my reading or enjoyment of this work.  This is a good introduction to the city I hope to visit next month.

For other reviews check out The Hieroglyphic Streets.

Recommended books: Dr. Johnson’s London: Coffee-Houses and Climbing Boys, Medicine, Toothpaste and Gin, Poverty and Press-Gangs, Freakshows by Liza Picard
Rating: ****

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