City of Dreams, a novel, by Beverly Swerling
This is a well-researched book that is filled with excellent historical value and factual information. Swerling recreates the time periods with fluid blends, giving our imaginations a peek at what life was like during the generations that span the novel, beginning with Amsterdam, when it was first settled.
From the beginning, one is amazed at the details that embrace the story, from how the first settlers built the city from scratch, to the harshness of life in Amsterdam, including the crime and moral standards. We see families trying to gain contro of land and peoplel, however they can, no detail is spared in conveying the situations. From brother and sister, who have close familial ties, to separations within families, each side feeling they are correct in their anger and beliefs, each side coming out somewhat the loser for their hatred…Swerling leads us through the bitter streets of Amsterdam.
The novel swells with culture, both religious and lifestyle…we are shown the various dwellers that inhabit the Island, and how each one must try to come to terms with the ethnic environments that surround them.
In the end, we find that times haven’t changed that much…the diversity of the population and the religious backgrounds, fed hatred then, as it continues to do so in modern day. It may be a different time period, and except for the way of life/lifestyle and what was available during that time period, most societal issues have not changed, only the technology has.
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