In 1809, New Yorkers were buzzing about a series of classified ads concerning the whereabouts of Dutch historian Diedrich Knickerbocker. They were unaware that Washington Irving had invented the man entirely and placed the ads himself. Knickerbocker's purported manuscript, A History of New York, was Irving's own. Told from Knickerbocker's point of view, A History of New York is a chronicle of New York's fifty years under Dutch rule in the 1600s that plays fast and loose with the facts, to uproarious effect. The book propelled Irving to the heights of literary stardom.
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From the Trade Paperback edition.
Washington Irving, one of the first American authors to earn his living from writing, was born in 1783 and died in 1859.