Russell Shorto

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Russell Shorto in 2010.

Russell Shorto (born February 8, 1959) is an American author, historian, and journalist who is best known for his book on the Dutch origins of New York City, The Island at the Center of the World.[1][2][3] Shorto's research for the book relied greatly on the work of the New Netherland Project, now known as the New Netherland Research Center,[4] as well as the New Netherland Institute.[5] Shorto has been the New Netherland Research Center's Senior Scholar since 2013.

In November 2017, he published Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom, which tells the story of the American Revolution through the eyes of six Americans from vastly-different walks of life.

His most recent work is Smalltime: The Story of My Family and the Mob, published in February 2021. The book is a memoir, covering Shorto's own family history and his ancestors involvement in the American Mafia in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on February 8, 1959, Shorto is a 1981 graduate of George Washington University. He is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and was from 2008 to 2013 the director of the John Adams Institute [nl] in Amsterdam, where he lived from 2013. As of 2014, Shorto resides in Cumberland, Maryland, where he is working on his next book, a narrative history of the American Revolution.[7]

On September 8, 2009, Shorto received a Dutch knighthood in the Order of Orange-Nassau for strengthening Netherlands-United States relations through his publications and as director of the John Adams Institute.



  • Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom ISBN 978-0-393-24554-7 (New York, W. W. Norton & Company, November 7, 2017).
  • Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City ISBN 978-1-408-70348-9 (New York, Doubleday, October 2013).
  • Descartes' Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason ISBN 978-0-385-51753-9 (New York, Random House, October 14, 2008).
  • The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America ISBN 0-385-50349-0 (New York, Doubleday, 2004).
  • Saints and Madmen: How Pioneering Psychiatrists Are Creating a New Science of the Soul ISBN 0-8050-5902-4 (New York, Henry Holt & Company, 1999).
  • Gospel Truth: The New Image of Jesus Emerging from Science and History, and Why It Matters ISBN 1-57322-056-6 (New York, Riverhead Books, 1997).


  1. ^ Russell Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America. First Edition. New York City: Vintage Books (a Division of Random House, 2004; ISBN 1-4000-7867-9
  2. ^ Joyce Goodfriend, "Review" New York History Vol. 86, No. 3 (Summer 2005), pp. 298-301 online
  3. ^ Paul Otto, "Review" Journal of American History (June 2005), Vol. 92 Issue 1, pp 183-184 online.
  4. ^ "New Netherland Research Center". Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Home". New Netherland Institute. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Stapinski, Helene (February 2, 2021). "Russell Shorto's Grandpa Was a 'Smalltime' Mobster". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  7. ^ "Contributors: Russell Shorto", National Geographic Traveler, Vol. 31 No. 5, August/September 2014, at page 6.

External links[edit]