Title: “Staten Island: Isle of the Bay”
Author: Margaret Lundrigan
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
Genre(s): nonfiction, history
Part of a Series: Yes, part of the “Making of America” series
Why I read it: For research!
Summary: A chronicle of the history of Staten Island from about the 17th century to the beginning of the 21st. Not much more to say other than that.
Review: I got this book because I needed it for research. I am writing a novel set on Staten Island during the Revolution. And my plan is for it to be the first in a series set on the island spanning a couple centuries. So I’ve been looking for everything I can find to help with research and ideas. I may review a book I read earlier. I have to see.
I am not usually a fan of nonfiction. I’m not sure why. When it comes down to it, I guess it’s just preference—no other reason. But there are a few nonfiction books I do enjoy. This one joins their ranks.
Lundrigan’s style is easy to read though she does rely a little to heavily on primary sources in some spots. I know this seems like an odd complaint for a nonfiction book about the history of a certain place. But it drags in some places. Especially when it goes on for a few pages. But there are times these primary sources do offer insight Lundrigan couldn’t present any other way. They just needed to be shorter in some places.
She covers a lot of time well—nearly three and a half centuries. And she lays it out well. Okay, chronologically, but the chapter groupings make sense. Colonial era, Revoutionary era and so on. Lundrigan also collected a good amount of pictures of Staten Island over the years. They were nice visuals and added to the book.
Bottom line: For all those who only know about Staten Island from reality shows like “Jersey Shore” and “Mob Wives,” I suggest you pick up this book.
Has anything interesting happened in your hometown?