First Year Text - Discussion Questions
The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto
- What's up with the title? What's the island referred to, and in what sense is it at the center of the world?
- The book argues in essence that our understanding of early American history leaves out an important founding group: the Dutch. How did they get erased from history?
- Who are the two main players in the narrative of the book? What are their roles? Over what do they clash?
- Over what territory on the East Coast did the Dutch colony of New Netherland stretch? How many future states were included in it? What was its capital?
- The book boils down the Dutch contribution to New York history to two main things. What are they?
- The book also argues that these same two things influenced America at large. How did that happen?
- List some places in New York City today that owe their names to the Dutch colony of New Netherland.