I’m going to take this blog on a journey and I hope you want to stay with me. I am reading a book called Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto which I originally bought hoping to find some information about the early Dutch settlers in Manhattan and tea drinking. The Dutch were the first to bring tea back to Europe and it is common knowledge that they brought it to their Manhattan colony—Amsterdam of New Netherland. Well, to my indignation, the book has no reference to early tea drinking by immigrant Dutch settlers (the author is probably a coffee drinker). There is however, a wealth of information about early settlements on the island of Manhattan.
As we approach Thanksgiving, it is fascinating to read well-researched details about early colonist life: which immigrants settled where; early relationships with natives; and how various skirmishes led to all-out wars. The writer leads you on a trail of understanding why Manhattan is the way it is today—the Dutch having brought with them a culture of tolerance mixed with strong inclination for opportunity (plus inherent unruliness).
So I guess this is really a book endorsement—it’s a well written, entertaining history book that will help any reader gain appreciation for our early American roots and all of the cultures that make up our nation. At minimum, it’s a must-read if you plan a trip to Manhattan—the author explains various points in the modern city and who originally settled there.
I haven’t quite finished the book yet—I’ll enjoy the rest of it with a good cup of tea.