( KINDLE ) ⚓ The Accidental City ♄ MOBI eBook or Kindle ePUB free
An extremely fact dense but interesting read about New Orleans from the city s founding until roughly the Battle of New Orleans For all the time lovingly spent on the city s origins, the chapter s after the American acquisition seemed comparatively rushed Over the course of the book, I felt the narrative structure left some few things to be desired my kingdom for a timeline but I learned so much that I decided to give it a four anyway. I really wanted to love this book now that we have family in New Orleans And there is a lot to like It provides some fascinating details into how New Orleans became the freewheeling place it is today It has been that way from the beginning Powell traces some of the strange characters and stranger dealings that built New Orleans from a fetid swamp into a French backwater, then a Spanish backwater, then a French boomerang and finally an American city with its own set of rules But the tracing can be as hard for a reader to follow as it was for explorers to find the mouth of the Mississippi The history loops around and around the 18th century As it winds, it pulls in important insights about the culture s ebb and flow into a slave society But the narrative gets clogged with family trees and second marriages and political machinations that would have been accessible in a cleaner chronological telling If you re not already well informed about the key characters you are likely to have trouble keeping everybody straight I plan to keep it for reference and so I can look up key historic figures in digestible pieces, as you would a text book I would not recommend reading it straight through as regular nonfiction. A genuine hey this looks interesting grab off the shelf at the library Again I ask, what are we going to do when everything is online and we only read on devices How will we make fortuitous finds The stacks are important We need the stacks.I m really fascinated by urban history, in part because cities tend to have unique, interesting histories, but also because I don t really know what to do with it How do you work urban history into American History grand scale It would be really hard to argue that the history of New York, or Chicago, or New Orleans is not important, but cities are weird and they don t fit well into big continental narratives So how do you teach them I really enjoyed Powell s writing here He has a nice way of being wry and witty while still maintaining an academic air The book did drag in parts, particularly when he was having to deal with this large French cast of characters in the mid 18th century One thing I really liked was his willingness to devote time to the history of African American New Orleansjust as we got the history of the various groups of French, French Canadian, Spanish, and English people floating around, so we also got some exploration of the various groups of Africans, where in Africa they came from and at what time, and how the French and especially Spanish regimes gave them room to maneuver a bit and carve out a culture That was another thing I found interesting I never knew how influential the relatively brief Spanish regime was Legally, particularly.This would be a good book for getting students thinking about complicated parts of the Atlantic World You could compare a few citiesBoston, English from start to finish, New York, Dutch to English, and then New Orleans, French to Spanish to American, with lots of British trade influence pressure and tons of African and Afro Caribbean influence. I picked this up at a local bookstore during my first visit to New Orleans, hoping to learn about the town s early settlement Hoo boy it is detailed The narrative woven through is that of a city that happened to be in the right place at a lot of right times.The chapters after the transfer to Spain are written from of a sociological perspective and explore the tripartite racial system whites, slaves, free blacks , which lays a good foundation for understanding the cultural makeup and power struggles of modern day NOLA.The city s early history is a series of power transfers between European governments The book finishes in the early 1800s, just after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and at the start of America s rise I might have gotten out of the book if I knew about 18th and 19th century Spanish, French, British, Southern American and Caribbean colonial history.The style is dry This is a dense history book, one extremely well researched and footnoted I think one could read this without ever having been to New Orleans without missing much For those that have been, it is really fun to understand the history behind some of the street and place names, geographical layout of the faubourgs neighborhoods , and of course the Vieux Carre itself.I ll have to find another book that picks up where this one left off, to learn about NOLA s 19th and 20th century I m glad I read it even though parts were tedious It s a fascinating history with drama and empire building and adventure. ( KINDLE ) ♫ The Accidental City ♷ This Is The Story Of A City That Shouldn T Exist In The Seventeenth Century, What Is Now America S Most Beguiling Metropolis Was Nothing Than A Swamp Prone To Flooding, Infested With Snakes, Battered By Hurricanes But Through The Intense Imperial Rivalries Of Spain, France, And England, And The Ambitious, Entrepreneurial Merchants And Settlers From Four Continents Who Risked Their Lives To Succeed In Colonial America, This Unpromising Site Became A Crossroads For The Whole Atlantic WorldLawrence N Powell, A Decades Long Resident And Observer Of New Orleans, Gives Us The Full Sweep Of The City S History From Its Founding Through Louisiana Statehood In We See The Crescent City Evolve From A French Village, To An African Market Town, To A Spanish Fortress, And Finally To An Anglo American Center Of Trade And Commerce We Hear And Feel The Mix Of Peoples, Religions, And Languages From Four Continents That Make The Place Electric And Always On The Verge Of Unraveling The Accidental City Is The Story Of Land Jobbing Schemes, Stock Market Crashes, And Nonstop Squabbles Over Status, Power, And Position, With Enough Rogues, Smugglers, And Self Fashioners To Fill A Picaresque NovelPowell S Tale Underscores The Fluidity And Contingency Of The Past, Revealing A Place Where People Made Their Own History This Is A City, And A History, Marked By Challenges And Perpetual Shifts In Shape And Direction, Like The Sinuous River On Which It Is Perched
2015 Reading Challenge A Nonfiction Book The Accidental City Improvising New Orleans is a very well researched history of the first few centuries of New Orleans founding As a NOLA lover, this was an invaluable work that answers so many questions about the hows and whys of New Orleans.I particularly enjoyed learning about the rampant contraband culture that was part of N.O from the start, as well as the very complex slave society and racial caste system every person of every hue helped to create What the book illustrated so comprehensively is that New Orleans, a city in a ridiculous location shaped by the policies of four very distinct nations, has always done and continues to do its own thing.While in some stretches a bit dry and dense, this history is nonetheless a fascinating study of one of the most interesting and unique places on Earth If you ve ever asked yourself how New Orleans came to be so distinct, read this book. Sigh I read an article about this book and loved the premise it was written by a Tulane professor in response to the post Katrina question of, Why are you even bothering to rebuild this city when it was so poorly placed The product, though, is the absolute worst of academic writing It is dry, he uses big words when small ones would be better He makes good points about the three part racial system in the city, but in doing so he seems to really minimize the effects of slavery. I haven t read a book this dense since college history classes, but it was fascinating I never thought much about the early history of New Orleans beyond it being a French city that America eventually picked up during the Louisiana Purchase There s obviously so much to it than that This book is full of easily mixed up French names and dates, but it s extremely interesting and makes me love New Orleans so much. Great Book on the founding of New Orleans I had been told that this would to boring and that I would give up after a few chapters, boy were they wrong.Happily I found two books on the subject that I want to read I m sorry that I can only give this five stars. The best one volume historical synthesis of the founding of the city and its development through statehood This is the first volume in a planned trilogy.