Why this book?
First published in 1957 (and re-issued with a welcome epilogue by historian Michael P. Onorato), the book vividly portrays the storied seaside’s heyday. McCullough was Coney Island royalty: His grandfather was one of its earliest settlers, his uncle was among its greatest showmen, and his dad owned a dozen amusement-park shooting galleries. The family’s love of the place seeps through these pages (a sub-sub title reads “the most rambunctious, scandalous, rapscallion, splendiferous, pugnacious, spectacular, illustrious, prodigious, frolicsome island on earth”—which about sums it up). Particularly moving is the heartbreaking fate of the show animals on the night of a tragic fire in 1911.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
Coney Island is more than a national institution: it was probably the most celebrated amusement resort in the world. This book, by a man whose family helped to build the Island's fantastic reputation, presents its lively and nostalgic history. Touched with sentiment, occasionally with acid, it is frank, outspoken, sometimes biting, but always imbued with humor.
This new edition of McCullough's book includes an introduction by Brian J. Cudahy, who has written extensively about New York's waterways and subways, and an epilogue by Michael P. Onorato, a retired history professor whose father managed Coney Island's famed Steeplechase Park from 1928…