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

9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780804149327. $50; 9 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; digital download. HIST
The scope of this work about the capital of the Netherlands goes well beyond the city's limits. Listeners walk the streets of Amsterdam visiting notable buildings, bridges, and canals, but the history detailed here can justifiably be said to encompass the whole of the country. Most of the book describes the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, including the colony of New Amsterdam. World War II and the modern era of civil rights and immigration also receive a fair mention. Amsterdam has a reputation of permissiveness and liberality (e.g., surrounding drug use and the sex trade), but this seedy image of the city is misguided. Shorto describes how liberalism and a strong sense of community have shaped Amsterdam through the centuries and suggests that we can learn from the Dutch. This production is read by the author. Shorto does fine work, particularly when reading the personal anecdotes and observations.
VERDICT This popular history will appeal to both public and academic library patrons.
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