Originally appeared http://laurent-courtines.com/the-must-read-new-york-city-book-list from http://laurent-courtines.com
Aside from growing up in New York City, I have an unhealthy obsession with it's history. If I had to guess, I've read five to seven books (looks like nine) just about New York City. The need to know stems from searching for identity. Who exactly am I and what did it mean to be me. I chose being a New Yorker as my definitive trait. For me, without New York, I was nothing. With that foundation in place, the more I could learn about New York City, the more I learned about myself. (See? Crazy!)
Anyway, the list is below:
The Power Broker by Robert Caro.
Low Life by Luc Sante.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr (The only novel on the list)
Ladies and Gentlemen The Bronx is Burning by Jonathan Mahler (Covers only 1977 but is a snapshot into the post-Moses New York)
Gotham: A History of the City of New York to 1898 by E. Burrows and M. Wallace.
The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs
Not necessary but you might find interesting:
New York: An Illustrated History (Companion book to the PBS Series 'New York' which is a must!)
The Epic of New York City: A Narrative History by Edward Ellis
The Gangs of New York by Herbert Ashbery
There are others, but these are the ones that I have read (That I remember) Not counted on these lists are the New York memoirs or baseball related books.
Did I miss any? Please let me know if you'd like more detail on any of these books