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Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America

by Donald L. Miller

Book Reviews

"A great skyscraper of a book. Supreme City is the improbable story not just of America's greatest metropolis during the Jazz Age, but the biography of an epoch."
-- Rick Atkinson, author of The Guns at Last Light: The War in Europe, 1944-1945

"Sparkling . . . The history of dozens of astonishing newcomers who -- largely in one tumultuous decade, the 1920s -- made New York into what Duke Ellington called the capital of everything. . . . Miller skillfully weaves these different and colorful strands into a narrative both coherent and vivacious . . . The full story richly deserves his original synthesis and, for me, makes New York even more fascinating."
-- Robert MacNeil, The Washington Post

"Lower Manhattan dominated New York for three hundred years. In the 1920's, however, as Donald L. Miller makes clear in a page-turning book with an astonishing cast of characters, Midtown became the beating heart of the metropolis. Supreme City is about how these few square miles at the center of a small island gave birth to modern America. If you love Gotham, you will love this book."
-- Kenneth T. Jackson, Barzun Professor of History, Columbia University; Editor-in-Chief, The Encyclopedia of New York City

"Sweeping. . . . Enjoyable. . . . [In the 1920s] New York was the United States intensified, an electric vessel into which the hopes and desires of a nation were distilled. As Mr. Miller's vivid and exhaustive chronicle demonstrates, Jazz Age Manhattan was the progenitor of cultural movements--individualized fusions of art and commerce--that came to symbolize the American way of life."
-- David Freeland, The Wall Street Journal

"Donald L. Miller's latest triumph. . . . [he] elegantly introduces one vivid character after another to recreate a vital and archetypical era when, as Duke Ellington declared, the whole world revolved around New York."
-- Sam Roberts, The New York Times

"Supreme City sings with all the excitement and the brilliance of the Jazz Age it recounts. Donald Miller is one of America's most fervent and insightful writers about the urban experience; here he gives us New York City at its grandest and most optimistic."
-- Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd

"Supreme City captures a vanished Gotham in all its bustle, gristle, and glory."
-- David Friend, Vanity Fair

"A splendid account of the construction boom in Midtown Manhattan between World War I and the Great Depression, and the transformation of transportation, communications, publishing, sports, and fashion that accompanied it . . . [Miller is] a virtuosic storyteller."
-- Glenn C. Altschuler, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Donald L. Miller has long been one of my favorite historians. Anyone who reads Supreme City will understand why. Miller brilliantly examines the birth of Midtown Manhattan during the glorious Jazz Age. It's the story of how a gaggle of success-hungry out-of-towners--including Duke Ellington, Walter Chrysler, E. B. White, and William Paley--turned the Valley of Giant Skyscrapers near Grand Central Terminal into the symbolic epicenter of wealth, power, and American can-doism. Highly recommended!"
-- Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History, Rice University and author of Cronkite

"Lively . . . synthesizes a vast amount of material on everything from skyscrapers to showgirls to create a scintillating portrait of Manhattan in the '20s . . . Much of Supreme City's charm comes from the amiable way Donald Miller ambles through Jazz Age Manhattan, exploring any corner of it that strikes his fancy."
-- Wendy Smith, The Daily Beast

"Miller captures the heady excitement and enduring creativity of 1920s Manhattan. . . . Conveying the panoramic sweep of the era with wit, illuminating details, humor, and style, Miller illustrates how Midtown Manhattan became the nation's communications, entertainment, and commercial epicenter."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An award-winning historian surveys the astonishing cast of characters who helped turn Manhattan into the world capital of commerce, communication and entertainment. . . . The narrative bursts with a dizzying succession of tales about the politicos, impresarios, merchants, sportsmen, performers, gangsters and hustlers who accounted for an unprecedented burst of creativity and achievement. . . . A scholarly . . . social history but one with plenty of sex appeal."
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)