In his new book Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth Of The NYPD (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) historian Bruce Chadwick argues that rampant violence led to the founding of the first professional police force in New York City.
Chadwick paints a picture of a bloody and violent city, where race relations and an influx of immigrants boiled over into riots, street gangs roved through town with abandon, and thousands of bars, prostitutes, and gambling emporiums clogged the streets.
Chadwick says that in the 19th century the crime rate was triple what it is today and the murder rate was five or six times as high. The drive to establish law and order involved some of New York’s biggest personalities, including mayor Fernando Wood and journalist Walt Whitman. Continue reading
This week on The Historians Podcast, Baltimore sports writer John Eisenberg discusses his book The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken Jr., and Baseball’s Most Historic Record Eisenberg tells the story of baseball’s legendary Cal Ripken Jr. and Lou Gehrig, who each achieved the record of most consecutive games played.
Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
New York City’s identity as a cultural and artistic center, as a point of arrival for millions of immigrants sympathetic to anarchist ideas, and as a hub of capitalism made the city a unique and dynamic terrain for anarchist activity. For 150 years, Gotham’s cosmopolitan setting created a unique interplay between anarchism’s human actors and an urban space that invites constant reinvention.
A new book edited by Tom Goyens’, Radical Gotham: Anarchism in New York City From Schwab’s Saloon To Occupy Wall Street (UI Press, 2017) gathers essays that demonstrate anarchism’s endurance as a political and cultural ideology and movement in New York from the 1870s to 2011.
The authors cover the gamut of anarchy’s emergence in and connection to the city. Some offer important new insights on German, Italian, and Yiddish- and Spanish-speaking anarchists. Others explore anarchism’s influence on religion, politics, and the visual and performing arts. A concluding essay looks at Occupy Wall Street’s roots in New York City’s anarchist tradition. Continue reading
Robert A. Slayton’s new book Beauty In The City: The Ashcan School (SUNY Press, 2017) takes a look back to the beginning of the twentieth century, when the Ashcan School of Art blazed onto the art scene, introducing a revolutionary vision of New York City.
In contrast to the elite artists who painted the upper class bedecked in finery, in front of magnificent structures, or the progressive reformers who photographed the city as a slum, hopeless and full of despair, the Ashcan School held the unique belief that the industrial working-class city was a fit subject for great art.
Beauty in the City illustrates how these artists portrayed the working classes with respect and gloried in the drama of the subways and excavation sites, the office towers, and immigrant housing. Their art captured the emerging metropolis in all its facets, with its potent machinery and its class, ethnic, and gender issues. Continue reading
A new book about a little-known hero of World War II — and one with strong ties to the New York City area — has just been published by local writer David Rocco. Rocco has recently co-authored the book The Indestructible Man (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017), the story of Navy officer Dixie Kiefer, who was an instrumental player in major battles in World War II. Kiefer was the executive officer on the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown at both the Battle of the Coral Sea and Battle of Midway. He was the last man off Yorktown before she sank at Midway.
Though seriously injured, he swam through shark-infested waters pushing a life raft filled with hurt sailors toward a rescue ship. Later, as captain of the carrier USS Ticonderoga, his ship came under attack by kamikaze aircraft. Though critically wounded by flying shrapnel, he remained on the bridge, overseeing counter-attacks and damage control for twelve hours. Continue reading
A new history covering the Fulton Chain of Lakes region from Moose River Settlement to its boundary west of Raquette Lake is now available from North Country Books and selected regional bookstores.
Regular contributor to the Weekly Adirondack of Old Forge Charles E. Herr’s new book, The Fulton Chain: Early Settlement, Roads, Steamboats, Railroads and Hotels, documents the story of the stalwart folk whose lives shaped the Fulton Chain.
The book represents the first general history of the Fulton Chain region in almost seventy years.
This week on The Historians Podcast, Pulitzer Prize winning author David Garrow discusses his critical and massive book on the formative years of the 44th President of the United States, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama (Morrow, 2017). Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
Willard Sterne Randall’s new book, Unshackling America: How the War of 1812 Truly Ended the American Revolution (St. Martin’s Press, 2017) challenges the notion that Americans fought two separate wars of independence.
Willard Sterne Randall documents a fifty-year-long struggle for economic independence from Britain overlapping two armed conflicts linked by an unacknowledged global struggle. Randall argues that the struggle was all about free trade. Continue reading
A new book by Susan M. Ouelette An Extraordinary Ordinary Woman: The Journal of Phebe Orvis, 1820-1830 (SUNY Press, 2017) takes a look at Phebe Orvis, a young woman adapting to life on the New York and Vermont frontier.
In 1820, Phebe Orvis began a journal that she faithfully kept for a decade. Her diary captures not only the everyday life of an ordinary woman in early nineteenth-century Vermont and New York, but also the unusual happenings of her family, neighborhood, and beyond. Continue reading
Susan Stessin-Cohn and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini’s book In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley 1735-1831 (Black Dome, 2016) documents 607 fugitives from slavery in the 18th and 19th-century Hudson River Valley region of New York State through the reproduction and transcription of 512 archival newspaper notices for runaway slaves placed by their enslavers or agents.
Also included are notices advertising slaves captured, notices advertising slaves for sale, notices offering to purchase slaves, and selected runaway notices from outside the Hudson River Valley region. Nine tables analyze the data in the 512 notices for runaways from Hudson Valley enslavers, and the book includes a glossary, indexes of names, locations, and subjects, 36 illustrations, 5 maps from the 18th and 19th centuries, and a foreword by A.J. Williams-Myers, Black Studies Department, SUNY at New Paltz. Continue reading