Greater Gotham

Greater Gotham


Winner of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award

Awarded yearly by Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest academic honor society, in recognition of "scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity." Past winners include David Brion Davis, Theda Skocpol, Peter Novick, Jill Lepore, David Levering Lewis, David Montgomery, Barrington Moore, John Rawls, Peter Gay, Winthrop D. Jordan, and Richard Hofstadter.

Click for a  biography  of the author, or a     curriculum vitae   .

Click for a biography of the author, or a curriculum vitae

Greater Gotham
A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919

By Mike Wallace
Oxford University Press (October 2, 2017)
1200 Pages | 15 maps, 326 linecuts & halftones

Winner of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award (Phi Beta Kappa), The New York Society Library Prize for Book of the Year, The Federal Hall Award for History, The Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in New York History, and The Victorian Society of New York Book of the Year Award

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Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1999, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 was a revelation to a generation of readers, transporting them from the modest Dutch colony of the 17th century to the behemoth that was New York by the end of the 19th. Gotham redefined what urban history could accomplish, seamlessly integrating granularity and narrative sweep to produce an indelible portrait of America’s greatest city, poised to dominate the century stretching ahead.

Now, nearly two decades later, comes its successor, and it doesn’t miss a beat. Greater Gotham, written by Gotham co-author Mike Wallace, takes up the story of the urban behemoth created by municipal consolidation in 1898 and now launching into the 20th century. This new volume gives us New York on a whole new scale, moving from national to global prominence, driven by restless ambition, immigrant dreams, and Wall Street capital, aspiring to control every aspect of the country’s cultural and commercial life and, by the end of World War I, to overtake London as the financial capital of the world.

During these two decades of the 20th century New York grew exponentially — up, down, and out, in every direction. The city underwent a building boom, producing everything from the Beaux-Arts grandeur of Grand Central Terminal and the Public Library to the futuristic skyscrapers that jostled for empyrean predominance. Here is New York in full ferment: in the sweatshops, luxury hotels, gambling dens, department stores, beer halls, and movie palaces; in the cramped, dim squalor of the Lower East Side tenements as well as the airy residential chateaux rising on the Upper West Side; in the opulence of Fifth Avenue brownstones and the citadel of empowerment taking shape in Harlem. Meanwhile beneath the streets an ever-expanding network of subways and water pipes and electrical conduits connected Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx, serving a burgeoning populace that came from nearly everywhere, drawn and sustained by Gotham’s seemingly unlimited potential.

Wallace’s Greater Gotham captures it all. Utterly immersive, endlessly illuminating, beautifully written, this new volume in the Gotham series matches its predecessor in pure page-turning appeal and takes America’s greatest city to even greater heights.


“At last! Mike Wallace's sequel to Gotham is here, after years of honing this vast subject into a whopping good read. Greater Gotham is the definitive story of New York City, in a time of conflict and dynamic growth. Wallace makes the history sing.”
- Kevin Baker, novelist and journalist

"An unprecedented feat, the new gold standard of urban history, Greater Gotham both extends and enhances the achievement of Gotham. Employing considerable analytical acuity, Mike Wallace has uncovered the through-lines in New York's story, cutting through the tangle of competing interests with wit, skepticism, nuanced judgment and masterful understanding. It's a tour-de-force of research, synthesis and literary clarity, and is full of surprises and the illumination of dark corners."
- Phillip Lopate, film critic, essayist, fiction writer, poet

"From Wall Street to immigrant slums, from vaudeville to the Metropolitan Opera, from Tammany Hall to union radicals, Mike Wallace expertly offers a kaleidoscope of New York life in the two pivotal decades in which it emerged as the nation's largest city and center of commerce, culture, and political radicalism. The writing brings it all vividly to life. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the city, or the nation."
- Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University

"The bounty continues! With Greater Gotham, Mike Wallace advances his impossible-to-put-down chronicle of New York City. Combining unmatched knowledge, striking narration, and analytical power, this stunning book is more than a portrait of a city, but a fresh vantage from which to consider the making of twentieth-century America."
- Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University

"Scholars, students and all who love New York are indebted to Mike Wallace for extending his command of the city's history into its glory days of the early twentieth century. In accessible and authoritative prose he explains how the city matured into a national and global leader of political, economic, social and cultural expression. A remarkable achievement!"
- Kathryn Sklar, Distinguished Professor Emerita, SUNY Binghamton

"Greater Gotham is an engaging, provocative, highly-informative, and beautifully-written history of New York just as it assumes its position of privilege on the world stage. An indispensable new resource that illuminates and explains how the city we know today came to be."
- Louise Mirrer, President & CEO, New York Historical Society


Sam Roberts, "Man of 'Gotham' Returns," New York Times, September 29, 2017

Lisa L. Colangelo, "Mike Wallace’s new ‘Greater Gotham’ explores NYC history from 1898 to 1919," AM New York, October 2, 2017

Jane Ciabattari, "Ten Books to Read in October," BBC, October 3, 2017

Joe Donahue, "Book Picks," WAMC, October 3, 2017.

Jean Zimmerman, "'Greater Gotham' is a Great Big Book for a Great Big City," NPR Books, October 4, 2017

Robert S. Davis, New York Journal of Books, October 2017

Brooke Kroeger, "Metropolis Rising: How the Big Apple took its Place among the World’s Great Cities," American Scholar (Fall 2017)

Joseph Berger, "The 20 Years That Made New York City," New York Times Book Review, October 9, 2017

John Glendall, "A Pulitzer Prize Winner Explains How These 20 Years in New York Changed the World," Architectural Digest, October 11, 2017

Jelani Cobb, "Reading 'Greater Gotham' and Reviewing New York's Historic Monuments," New Yorker, October 15, 2017

"10 Books We Recommend This Week," New York Times Book Review, October 17, 2017

Steve Donoghue, "Greater Gotham traces New York's Transformation into Capital of the Western world,"
Christian Science Monitor, October 31, 2017

"Best Reviewed Books of the Week," Literary Hub, November 3, 2017

Francis Morrone, "The Prime of New York City," City Journal, November 17, 2017

"Greater Gotham: Admiring the Biggest, Most Important New York City History Book of the Year," Bowery Boys Bookshelf, November 27, 2017

Holiday round-ups: Bloomberg, Curbed, New York Times Book Review, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dayton Daily News, Terri Schlichenmeyer’s "Book Worm" (syndicated column), NPR Books

"Briefly Noted," The New Yorker, December 4, 2017

Anna Shapiro, "Greater Gotham by Mike Wallace," Architectural Record, December 5, 2017

Jackson Lears, "Rome on the Hudson," New York Review of Books, December 21, 2017

Leonard Quart, "Letter from New York," Berkshire Eagle, December 7, 2017

Justin Davidson, "Greater Gotham by Mike Wallace," Columbia (Winter 2017)

The Economist, "A Gripping History of New York," December 14, 2017

Best Non-Fiction of 2017: The Bowery Boys, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, Dayton Daily. Read the earlier Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus reviews

David Marcus, "How the Modern U.S. Economy Was Launched," TheStreet, December 31, 2017

Julia Vitullo-Martin, "A History of NYC Revealed in Mike Wallace’s Greater Gotham," UntappedCities, February 5, 2018

Marjorie Cohen, "The 25 best books about New York City history," BrickUnderground, February 14, 2018

"Review: Greater Gotham," Oculus (Summer 2018).

Kim Phillips-Fein, "Capital of the World," The Nation, August 27, 2018

Glenn C. Altschuler, "Another Bite at the Big Apple," Reviews in American History 46, no. 3 (2018).

Allan Boyer, "Life of the Mind," Key Reporter, August 8, 2018.

Thai Jones, "At Street Level in Mike Wallace's Greater Gotham," The Metropole, April 30, 2019.


Tony Guida's NY, January 3, 2018

Errol Louis, "Best Books of 2017," NY1, December 29, 2017

Mark Klobas, "Mike Wallace, Greater Gotham," New Books Network, November 22, 2017

Rick Firstman," Gotham City: The Story Continues," CUNY Book Beat, November 16, 2017

"Mike Wallace, Author of Greater Gotham," Kirkus, October 26, 2017

"Mike Wallace," Charlie Rose, October 18, 2017

"Mike Wallace on Greater Gotham," New York Times Book Review (podcast), October 13, 2017

"Reading with... Mike Wallace," ShelfAwareness (blog), October 6, 2017

"Mike Wallace on How New York Became a Modern City," The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC, October 4, 2017

"History of Zoning," The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, October 4, 2017

Philip Lopate, "Mike Wallace," BOMB 141 (Fall 2017)


"Suffragist and Suffragettes," Gotham: A Blog for Scholars of New York City History, November 6, 2017

"Five Best [Books of 2017]: Mike Wallace on NYC 100 Years Ago," Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2017

"Against the 'Melting Pot' Metaphor," Literary Hub, October 30, 2017

"Theodore Dreiser's New York," The Paris Review, October 26, 2017

Speaking Engagements


New York Public Library
In conversation with Jelani Cobb (listen here or watch on C-Span)

New York, NY


The Gotham Center
In conversation with Sam Roberts

New York, NY


Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn, NY


Chicago Public Library

Chicago, IL


Atlanta History Center/
Margaret Mitchell House

Atlanta, GA


Smithsonian Institute

Washington, DC


National Churchill Library

Washington, DC


Quail Ridge Bookstore

Raleigh, NC


Seaport Museum

New York, NY


Skyscraper Museum (watch the video)

New York, NY


Miami Book Fair

Miami, FL


The Century Association

New York, NY


Grace Church School
(Bowery Alliance of Neighbors)

New York, NY




192 Books

Historic Districts Council

The New School / Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (watch the video)

New York, NY

New York, NY

New York, NY


The Center for Worker Education (CUNY Division of Interdisciplinary Studies)

New York, NY


"Live From America" Podcast, The Comedy Cellar (watch the video)

New York, NY


SVA Theater, Open House NY

New York, NY


Museum of the City of New York
In conversation with Nell Irvin Painter

New York, NY


Municipal Archives

New York, NY


Lehman Center for American History, Columbia University

New York, NY