RECOMMENDED READING ON NEW NETHERLAND

These recommended books paint a portrait of New Netherland, from a nutshell history you can finish in a sitting or two to a riotous romp of a novel that carries you through 40 years on the Hudson.  In between is a bestselling history that captures all the conflict and drama of the place, a first-hand account of what the Dutch discovered in this "beautiful and fruitful land," and a graphic novel taking you on an adventure to the Mohawks in 1634.  (Titles link to the NNI Shop if the book is available there, otherwise to Amazon.)
 

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New Netherland in a Nutshell
A concise illustrated history of the Dutch colony by Firth Haring Fabend that you can finish in a sitting or two.

“For anyone seeking to answer the question, ‘What was New Netherland?’ this little volume is a handy, richly packed resource. It gives you the background, the actors, the action, and the legacy. In clear prose, it covers a lot of history in a few pages.”

- Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World

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The Island at the Center of the World
The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America

Russell Shorto’s bestselling history packs a wallop of a story, moving from the halls of power in London and The Hague to bloody naval encounters on the high seas to the uncharted wilderness Manhattan once was.  You’ll meet philosophers and kings, smugglers and fallen women, merchants and surgeons, along with a pegleg general locked in a bitter struggle with a forgotten American hero. 

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Kiliaen van Rensselaer (1586-1643)
Designing a New World by Janny Venema

A biography from the Assistant Director of the New Netherland Research Center about the visionary Amsterdam merchant.  Van Rensselaer was a driving force behind the patroonship system and founded the only successful example, Rensselaerswijck.

  

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The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan
A Novel of New Amsterdam by Bill Greer

"[A] romp through the history of New Netherland that would surely have Petrus Stuyvesant complaining about the riot transpiring between its pages ... Readers are guaranteed a genuine adventure that will evoke the full range of human emotions. Once begun, they can expect to experience that rare difficulty in putting down a book before they have finished."

- de Halve Maen, Journal of the Holland Society of New York, Summer 2009
 

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A Description of New Netherland
by Adriaen van der Donck; edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Starna

Van der Donck’s first-hand account is as close as you can come to seeing New Netherland through the eyes of an original settler.  Arriving in 1641 as the schout of Rensselaerswijck, he subsequently moved to Manhattan and locked horns with Peter Stuyvesant – he’s the forgotten hero referred to above.  One of his most valuable acts was to pen this Description of the natural world and the native inhabitants he encountered in his new home.  “One of America’s oldest literary treasures,” historian Thomas O’Donnell called the work.

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The Edge of New Netherland
by Len Tantillo

In the 17th century, the Dutch & Swedes vied for supremacy on the Delaware River. Artist Len Tantillo recreates the drama of this time, examining the fur trade and reconstructing the fort the two countries swapped with one another.  The book is filled with the color illustrations for which Len is renowned and includes a historical overview of the Dutch on the Delaware by Dr. Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Research Center.

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Journey into Mohawk Country
by Harmen van den Bogaert and George O'Connor

At age 23 in the dead of winter, Harmen van den Bogaert traveled into Mohawk country with two companions.  The year was 1634.  George O’Connor retells the adventure in a graphic novel combining vibrant images with van den Bogaert’s own words.  A groundbreaking effort that earns praise as a comics adaptation and a work of history.

 

For more books, view our full list on New Netherland, Dutch influence and culture in America and Colonial America in general.  If you are buying a book, you can support NNI by clicking on the links to Amazon. NNI will earn a small commission.

For primary sources and articles, view the New Netherland Biblilography.

 

About the New Netherland Institute

For a quarter century NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. Directed by Dr. Charles Gehring. More

 

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