“This is my kind of history book. Get ready. Here’s the action.” —BRAD MELTZER, bestselling author of The Fifth Assassin and host of Decoded
When George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied—thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. He realized that he couldn’t defeat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York.
Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have offered fascinating portraits of these spies: a reserved Quaker merchant, a tavern keeper, a brash young longshoreman, a curmudgeonly Long Island bachelor, a coffeehouse owner, and a mysterious woman. Long unrecognized, the secret six are finally receiving their due among the pantheon of American heroes.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation’s burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 people. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal.
Graced by David McCullough’s remarkable gift for writing richly textured, sympathetic social history, The Johnstown Flood is an absorbing, classic portrait of life in nineteenth-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly.
A fascinating Jazz Age tale of chemistry and detection, poison and murder, The Poisoner's Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten era. In early twentieth-century New York, poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Science had no place in the Tammany Hall-controlled coroner's office, and corruption ran rampant. However, with the appointment of chief medical examiner Charles Norris in 1918, the poison game changed forever. Together with toxicologist Alexander Gettler, the duo set the justice system on fire with their trailblazing scientific detective work, triumphing over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry and the gatekeepers of justice.
In 2014, PBS's AMERICAN EXPERIENCE released a film based on The Poisoner's Handbook.
This monumental book is the enthralling story of one of the greatest events in our nation’s history, during the Age of Optimism—a period when Americans were convinced in their hearts that all things were possible.
In the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building an unprecedented bridge to span the East River between the great cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went into the building of the great cathedrals. Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project. But this is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the surpassing enterprise.
The story of the fire, its causes, and its legal and human aftermath is one of lives put at risk by petty economic decisions--by a band, club owners, promoters, building inspectors, and product manufacturers. Any one of those decisions, made differently, might have averted the tragedy. Together, however, they reached a fatal critical mass.
Killer Show is the first comprehensive exploration of the chain of events leading up to the fire, the conflagration itself, and the painstaking search for evidence to hold the guilty to account and obtain justice for the victims.
Anyone who has entered an entertainment venue and wondered, "Could I get out of here in a hurry?" will identify with concertgoers at The Station. Fans of disaster nonfiction and forensic thrillers will find ample elements of both genres in Killer Show.
Secretive—even reclusive—Russell Bufalino quietly built his organized crime empire in the decades between Prohibition and the Carter presidency. His reach extended far beyond the coal country of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and quaint Amish farms near Lancaster. Bufalino had a hand in global, national, and local politics of the largest American cities, many of its major industries, and controlled the powerful Teamsters Union. His influence also reached the highest levels of Pennsylvania government and halls of Congress, and his legacy left a culture of corruption that continues to this day.
A uniquely American saga that spans six decades, The Quiet Don follows Russell Bufalino’s remarkably quiet ascent from Sicilian immigrant to mob soldier to a man described by a United States Senate subcommittee in 1964 as “one of the most ruthless and powerful leaders of the Mafia in the United States.”
By early 1977, the metropolis was in the grip of hysteria caused by a murderer dubbed "Son of Sam." And on a sweltering night in July, a citywide power outage touched off an orgy of looting and arson that led to the largest mass arrest in New York's history. As the turbulent year wore on, the city became absorbed in two epic battles: the fight between Yankee slugger Reggie Jackson and team manager Billy Martin, and the battle between Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo for the city's mayoralty. Buried beneath these parallel conflicts—one for the soul of baseball, the other for the soul of the city—was the subtext of race. The brash and confident Jackson took every black myth and threw it back in white America's face. Meanwhile, Koch and Cuomo ran bitterly negative campaigns that played upon urbanites' fears of soaring crime and falling municipal budgets.
These braided stories tell the history of a year that saw the opening of Studio 54, the evolution of punk rock, and the dawning of modern SoHo. As the pragmatist Koch defeated the visionary Cuomo and as Reggie Jackson finally rescued a team racked with dissension,1977 became a year of survival but also of hope.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and the basis of the 2007 ESPN miniseries, starring John Turturro as Billy Martin, Oliver Platt as George Steinbrenner, and Daniel Sunjata as Reggie Jackson.
Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as “a masterpiece” (John A. Gable, Newsday), it is the winner of the Los Angeles Times 1981 Book Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Biography. Written by David McCullough, the author of Truman, this is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and almost fatal asthma attacks, and his struggle to manhood: an amazing metamorphosis seen in the context of the very uncommon household in which he was raised.
The father is the first Theodore Roosevelt, a figure of unbounded energy, enormously attractive and selfless, a god in the eyes of his small, frail namesake. The mother, Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt, is a Southerner and a celebrated beauty, but also considerably more, which the book makes clear as never before. There are sisters Anna and Corinne, brother Elliott (who becomes the father of Eleanor Roosevelt), and the lovely, tragic Alice Lee, TR’s first love. All are brought to life to make “a beautifully told story, filled with fresh detail” (The New York Times Book Review).
A book to be read on many levels, it is at once an enthralling story, a brilliant social history and a work of important scholarship which does away with several old myths and breaks entirely new ground. It is a book about life intensely lived, about family love and loyalty, about grief and courage, about “blessed” mornings on horseback beneath the wide blue skies of the Badlands.
Each chapter provides a detailed explanation of a specific skill or technique, illustrated with easy-to-read instructional diagrams and photographs. Coach Tucker begins with lacrosse survival skills—throwing, catching, cradling, and scooping ground balls—and then moves on to more advanced techniques, such as precise checking, fast footwork, correct stick and body position, deceptive shooting, and quick dodges. Chapters on cutting-edge offensive and defensive strategy and on specialized skills, such as goal-tending and the draw, will get any team ready to hit the field.
Fully updated, this edition includes* Detailed skill instruction* Drill suggestions throughout the book* New rules regarding the center draw and running through the crease For young women who want to play at the college level, the concluding chapter on recruiting offers a timeline; testimony from players, parents, and college coaches who have been through the process; and a sample résumé. Highlighting the most current strategies and tactics in the game today, Women's Lacrosse is a comprehensive instructional guide for coaches and players at all levels.
When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, polyglot society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor. But the story of the Dutch colony of New Netherland was merely lost, not destroyed: 12,000 pages of its records–recently declared a national treasure–are now being translated. Russell Shorto draws on this remarkable archive in The Island at the Center of the World, which has been hailed by The New York Times as “a book that will permanently alter the way we regard our collective past.”
The Dutch colony pre-dated the “original” thirteen colonies, yet it seems strikingly familiar. Its capital was cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic, and its citizens valued free trade, individual rights, and religious freedom. Their champion was a progressive, young lawyer named Adriaen van der Donck, who emerges in these pages as a forgotten American patriot and whose political vision brought him into conflict with Peter Stuyvesant, the autocratic director of the Dutch colony. The struggle between these two strong-willed men laid the foundation for New York City and helped shape American culture. The Island at the Center of the World uncovers a lost world and offers a surprising new perspective on our own.
On April 20th, 1989, two passersby discovered the body of the "Central Park jogger" crumpled in a ravine. She'd been raped and severely beaten. Within days five black and Latino teenagers were apprehended, all five confessing to the crime. The staggering torrent of media coverage that ensued, coupled with fierce public outcry, exposed the deep-seated race and class divisions in New York City at the time. The minors were tried and convicted as adults despite no evidence linking them to the victim. Over a decade later, when DNA tests connected serial rapist Matias Reyes to the crime, the government, law enforcement, social institutions and media of New York were exposed as having undermined the individuals they were designed to protect. Here, Sarah Burns recounts this historic case for the first time since the young men's convictions were overturned, telling, at last, the full story of one of New York’s most legendary crimes.
“A rich, lovely, debut history of New York theater in the 1970s and eighties” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Razzle Dazzle is a narrative account of the people and the money and the power that turned New York’s gritty back alleys and sex-shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way.
In the mid-1970s Times Square was the seedy symbol of New York’s economic decline. Its once shining star, the renowned Shubert Organization, was losing theaters to make way for parking lots and losing money. Bernard Jacobs and Jerry Schoenfeld, two ambitious board members, saw the crumbling company was ripe for takeover and staged a coup and staved off corporate intrigue, personal betrayals and criminal investigations. Once Jacobs and Schoenfeld solidified their power, they turned a collapsed theater-owning holding company into one of the most successful entertainment empires in the world, spearheading the revitalization of Broadway and the renewal of Times Square.
“For those interested in the business behind the greasepaint, at a riveting time in Broadway’s and New York’s history, this is the ticket” (USA TODAY). Michael Riedel tells the stories of the Shubert Organization and the shows that re-built a city in grand style—including Cats, A Chorus Line, and Mamma Mia!—revealing the backstage drama that often rivaled what transpired onstage, exposing bitter rivalries, unlikely alliances, and inside gossip. “The trouble with Razzle Dazzle is…you can’t put the damn thing down” (Huffington Post).
Combining personal memoir and historical narrative, Striking Steel argues for reassessment of unionism in American life during the second half of the twentieth century and a recasting of "official memory." As he traces the history of union steelworkers after World War II, Metzgar draws on his father's powerful stories about the publishing work in the mills, stories in which time is divided between "before the union" and since. His father, Johnny Metzgar, fought ardently for workplace rules as a means of giving "the men" some control over their working conditions and protection from venal foremen. He pursued grievances until he eroded management's authority, and he badgered foremen until he established shop-floor practices that would become part of the next negotiated contract. As a passionate advocate of solidarity, he urged coworkers to stick together so that the rules were upheld and everyone could earn a decent wage.
Striking Steel's pivotal event is the four-month nationwide steel strike of 1959, a landmark union victory that has been all but erased from public memory. With remarkable tenacity, union members held out for the shop-floor rules that gave them dignity in the workplace and raised their standard of living. Their victory underscored the value of sticking together and reinforced their sense that they were contributing to a general improvement in American working and living conditions.
The Metzgar family's story vividly illustrates the larger narrative of how unionism lifted the fortunes and prospects of working-class families. It also offers an account of how the broad social changes of the period helped to shift the balance of power in a conflict-ridden, patriarchal household. Even if the optimism of his generation faded in the upheavals of the 1960s, Johnny Metzgar's commitment to his union and the strike itself stands as an honorable example of what a collective action can and did achieve. Jack Metzgar's Striking Steel is a stirring call to remember and renew the struggle.
But who, exactly, is that someone? And why is he—or she—so unknown?
In Picking Up, the anthropologist Robin Nagle introduces us to the men and women of New York City's Department of Sanitation and makes clear why this small army of uniformed workers is the most important labor force on the streets. Seeking to understand every aspect of the Department's mission, Nagle accompanied crews on their routes, questioned supervisors and commissioners, and listened to story after story about blizzards, hazardous wastes, and the insults of everyday New Yorkers. But the more time she spent with the DSNY, the more Nagle realized that observing wasn't quite enough—so she joined the force herself. Driving the hulking trucks, she obtained an insider's perspective on the complex kinships, arcane rules, and obscure lingo unique to the realm of sanitation workers.
Nagle chronicles New York City's four-hundred-year struggle with trash, and traces the city's waste-management efforts from a time when filth overwhelmed the streets to the far more rigorous practices of today, when the Big Apple is as clean as it's ever been.
Throughout, Nagle reveals the many unexpected ways in which sanitation workers stand between our seemingly well-ordered lives and the sea of refuse that would otherwise overwhelm us. In the process, she changes the way we understand cities—and ourselves within them.
In 1984, the landscape historian Mac Griswold was rowing along a Long Island creek when she came upon a stately yellow house and a garden guarded by looming boxwoods. She instantly knew that boxwoods that large—twelve feet tall, fifteen feet wide—had to be hundreds of years old. So, as it happened, was the house: Sylvester Manor had been held in the same family for eleven generations.
Formerly encompassing all of Shelter Island, New York, a pearl of 8,000 acres caught between the North and South Forks of Long Island, the manor had dwindled to 243 acres. Still, its hidden vault proved to be full of revelations and treasures, including the 1666 charter for the land, and correspondence from Thomas Jefferson. Most notable was the short and steep flight of steps the family had called the "slave staircase," which would provide clues to the extensive but little-known story of Northern slavery. Alongside a team of archaeologists, Griswold began a dig that would uncover a landscape bursting with stories.
Based on years of archival and field research, as well as voyages to Africa, the West Indies, and Europe, The Manor is at once an investigation into forgotten lives and a sweeping drama that captures our history in all its richness and suffering. It is a monumental achievement.
How Newark Became Newark is a fresh, unflinching popular history that spans the city's epic transformation from a tiny Puritan village into a manufacturing powerhouse, on to its desperate struggles in the twentieth century and beyond. After World War II, unrest mounted as the minority community was increasingly marginalized, leading to the wrenching civic disturbances of the 1960s. Though much of the city was crippled for years, How Newark Became Newark is also a story of survival and hope. Today, a real estate revival and growing population are signs that Newark is once again in ascendance.
Fifty years after she was viciously attacked in full view of several neighbors and within earshot of still more, the name of murder victim Kitty Genovese still conjures the ugly spectre of American apathy. “37 Saw Murder but Didn’t Call Police” ran the Times headline that created a legend. A thirty-eighth witness did call—“after much deliberation”—half an hour after the first attack left Kitty wounded on the street. By then, her killer had returned and finished the job: Kitty Genovese lay dying in a stairwell, just steps from the safety of her own apartment.
The apparent indifference of Kitty’s neighbors to her screams—and the cold-blooded calm of the killer who came back—fixed this case in the memory of detective chief Albert Seedman. Ten years later, he gave coauthor Peter Hellman the inside scoop on the murder that haunts a quiet corner of Kew Gardens, Queens—and the American conscience.
Seedman’s account of the investigation, now bookended by incisive new commentary from Hellman, is as gripping today as ever, and the plight of Kitty Genovese as chilling. When Seedman questioned the murderer about Kitty’s neighbors, he replied, “I knew they wouldn’t do anything. People never do. That late at night, they just go back to sleep.” If he struck today, would we prove him wrong?
Volume one of Brother Joseph: Seer of a New Dispensation begins the amazing story of the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Drawn from hundreds of authoritative sources, it delivers a fascinating and sweeping view of the first half of Joseph’s eventful and inspiring life.
Growing into manhood while suffering many trials and relentless persecution, Joseph was forged into a humble servant of God who led the people by example and whom the Saints admired and deeply loved.
As the Lord taught and strengthened Joseph, he imparted profound doctrines that enriched the lives of the Saints—teachings that caused them to ponder in sincere reflection. They treasured the opportunity to associate with their beloved Brother Joseph and to learn from him.
Written in a very readable style by using Joseph’s own recorded history and the observations of those knew him, this volume offers a clear and vivid portrait of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It illustrates the breadth and depth of the dynamic life of this exceptional servant of God. In this book is an inspiring and impressive biography of a singular man and prophet of God.
On a warm spring evening in 1982, thirty-seven-year-old accountant Margaret Barbera left work in New York City and walked to the West Side parking lot where she kept her BMW. Finding the lock on the driver’s side door jammed, she went to the passenger’s side and inserted her key. A man leaned through the open window of a van parked in the next spot, pressed a silenced pistol to the back of Margaret’s head, and fired. She was dead before she hit the pavement.
It was a professional hit, meticulously planned—but the killer didn’t expect three employees of the nearby CBS television studios to stumble onto the scene of the crime. “You didn’t see nothin’, did you?” he demanded, before shooting the first eyewitness in the head. After chasing down and executing the other two men, the murderer sped out of the parking lot with Margaret’s lifeless body in the back of his van.
Thirty minutes later, the first detectives arrived on the scene. Veterans of Midtown North, a sprawling precinct stretching from the exclusive shops of Fifth Avenue to the flophouses of Hell’s Kitchen, they thought they’d seen it all. But a bloodbath in the heart of Manhattan was a shocking new level of depravity, and the investigation would unfold under intense media coverage. Setting out on the trail of an assassin, the NYPD uncovered one of the most diabolical criminal conspiracies in the city’s history.
Richard Hammer’s blow-by-blow account of “the CBS Murders” is a thrilling tale of greed, violence, and betrayal, and a fascinating portrait of how a big-city police department solved the toughest of cases.
Roosevelt and his “Brain Trust”—shrewd, energetic advisors such as Harold Ickes and Harry Hopkins—sought to fight the Depression by channeling federal resources through America’s cities and counties. La Guardia had replaced Tammany Hall cronies with policy experts, such as the imperious Robert Moses, who were committed to a strong public sector. The two leaders worked closely together. La Guardia had a direct line of communication with FDR and his staff, often visiting Washington carrying piles of blueprints. Roosevelt relied on the mayor as his link to the nation’s cities and their needs. The combination was potent. La Guardia’s Gotham became a laboratory for New Deal reform. Roosevelt’s New Deal transformed city initiatives into major programs such as the Works Progress Administration, which changed the physical face of the United States. Together they built parks, bridges, and schools; put the unemployed to work; and strengthened the Progressive vision of government as serving the public purpose.
Today everyone knows the FDR Drive as a main route to La Guardia Airport. The intersection of steel and concrete speaks to a pair of dynamic leaders whose collaboration lifted a city and a nation. Here is their story.
Historic sites along the Mall, such as the U.S. Capitol building, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial, are explored from an entirely new perspective in this book, with never-before-told stories and statistics about the role of blacks in their creation. This is an iconoclastic guide to Washington, D.C., in that it shines a light on the African Americans who have not traditionally been properly credited for actually building important landmarks in the city. New research by a top Washington journalist brings this information together in a powerful retelling of an important part of our country's history.
In addition the book includes sections devoted to specific monuments such as the African American Civil War Memorial, the real “Uncle Tom's cabin,” the Benjamin Banneker Overlook and Frederick Douglass Museum, the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans, and other existing statues, memorials and monuments. It also details the many other places being planned right now to house, for the first time, rich collections of black American history that have not previously been accessible to the public, such as the soon-to-open Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Monument, as well as others opening over the next decade. This book will be a source of pride for African Americans who live in or come from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area as well as for the 18 million annual African American visitors to our nation's capital.
Jesse J. Holland is a political journalist who lives in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. He is the Congressional legal affairs correspondent for the Associated Press, and his stories frequently appear in the New York Times and other major papers. In 2004, Holland became the first African American elected to Congressional Standing Committee of Correspondents, which represents the entire press corps before the Senate and the House of Representatives. A graduate of the University of Mississippi, he is a frequent lecturer at universities and media talk shows across the country.
Women "treated" when they exchanged sexual favors for dinner and an evening's entertainment or, more tangibly, for stockings, shoes, and other material goods. These "charity girls" created for themselves a moral space between prostitution and courtship that preserved both sexual barter and respectability. Although treating, as a clearly articulated language and identity, began to disappear after the 1920s and 1930s, Clement argues that it still had significant, lasting effects on modern sexual norms. She demonstrates how treating shaped courtship and dating practices, the prevalence and meaning of premarital sex, and America's developing commercial sex industry. Even further, her study illuminates the ways in which sexuality and morality interact and contribute to our understanding of the broader social categories of race, gender, and class.
On June 15, 1904, the steamship General Slocum was heading from Manhattan to Long Island Sound when a fire erupted in one of the storage rooms. Faced with an untrained crew, crumbling life jackets, and inaccessible lifeboats, hundreds of terrified passengers--few of which were experienced swimmers--fled into the water. By the time the captain found a safe shore for landing, more than 1000 people had perished. It was New York’s deadliest tragedy prior to September 11, 2001.
The only book available on this compelling chapter in the city’s history, Ship Ablaze draws on firsthand accounts to examine why the death toll was so high, how the city responded, and why this event failed to achieve the infamy of the Titanic’s 1912 demise or the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Masterfully capturing both the horror of the event and heroism of men, women, and children aboard the ship as the inferno spread, historian Edward T. O’Donnell brings to life a bygone community while honoring the victims of that forgotten day.
These masterpieces (along with several previously uncollected stories) are available in one volume, which presents an indelible collective portrait of an unsuspected New York and its odder citizens—as depicted by one of the great writers of this or any other time.
Alcohol was essential to colonial life; the region’s water was foul, milk was generally unavailable, and tea and coffee were far too expensive for all but the very wealthy. Colonists used alcohol to drink, in cooking, as a cleaning agent, in beauty products, and as medicine. Meacham finds that the distillation and brewing of alcohol for these purposes traditionally fell to women. Advice and recipes in such guidebooks as The Accomplisht Ladys Delight demonstrate that women were the main producers of alcohol until the middle of the 18th century. Men, mostly small planters, then supplanted women, using new and cheaper technologies to make the region’s cider, ale, and whiskey.
Meacham compares alcohol production in the Chesapeake with that in New England, the middle colonies, and Europe, finding the Chesapeake to be far more isolated than even the other American colonies. She explains how home brewers used new technologies, such as small alembic stills and inexpensive cider pressing machines, in their alcoholic enterprises. She links the importation of coffee and tea in America to the temperance movement, showing how the wealthy became concerned with alcohol consumption only after they found something less inebriating to drink.
Taking a few pages from contemporary guidebooks, Every Home a Distillery includes samples of historic recipes and instructions on how to make alcoholic beverages. American historians will find this study both enlightening and surprising.
For much of its history, Centralia, Pennsylvania, had a population of around 2,000. By 1981, this had dwindled to just over 1,000—not unusual for a onetime mining town. But as of 2007, Centralia had the unwelcome distinction of being the state's tiniest municipality, with a population of nine. The reason: an underground fire that began in 1962 has decimated the town with smoke and toxic gases, and has since made history.
Fire Underground is the completely updated classic account of the fire that has been raging under Centralia for decades. David DeKok tells the story of how the fire actually began and how government officials failed to take effective action. By 1981 the fire was spewing deadly gases into homes. A twelve-year-old boy dropped into a steaming hole as a congressman toured nearby. DeKok describes how the people of Centralia banded together to finally win relocation funds—and he reveals what has happened to the few remaining residents as the fiftieth anniversary of the fire's beginning nears.
Clarence Lusane juxtaposes significant events in White House history with the ongoing struggle for democratic, civil, and human rights by black Americans and demonstrates that only during crises have presidents used their authority to advance racial justice. He describes how in 1901 the building was officially named the “White House” amidst a furious backlash against President Roosevelt for inviting Booker T. Washington to dinner, and how that same year that saw the consolidation of white power with the departure of the last black Congressmember elected after the Civil War. Lusane explores how, from its construction in 1792 to its becoming the home of the first black president, the White House has been a prism through which to view the progress and struggles of black Americans seeking full citizenship and justice.
“Clarence Lusane is one of America’s most thoughtful and critical thinkers on issues of race, class and power.”—Manning Marable
"Barack Obama may be the first black president in the White House, but he's far from the first black person to work in it. In this fascinating history of all the enslaved people, workers and entertainers who spent time in the president's official residence over the years, Clarence Lusane restores the White House to its true colors."—Barbara Ehrenreich
"Reading The Black History of the White House shows us how much we DON'T know about our history, politics, and culture. In a very accessible and polished style, Clarence Lusane takes us inside the key national events of the American past and present. He reveals new dimensions of the black presence in the US from revolutionary days to the Obama campaign. Yes, 'black hands built the White House'—enslaved black hands—but they also built this country's economy, political system, and culture, in ways Lusane shows us in great detail. A particularly important feature of this book its personal storytelling: we see black political history through the experiences and insights of little-known participants in great American events. The detailed lives of Washington's slaves seeking freedom, or the complexities of Duke Ellington's relationships with the Truman and Eisenhower White House, show us American racism, and also black America's fierce hunger for freedom, in brand new and very exciting ways. This book would be a great addition to many courses in history, sociology, or ethnic studies courses. Highly recommended!"—Howard Winant
"The White House was built with slave labor and at least six US presidents owned slaves during their time in office. With these facts, Clarence Lusane, a political science professor at American University, opens The Black History of the White House(City Lights), a fascinating story of race relations that plays out both on the domestic front and the international stage. As Lusane writes, 'The Lincoln White House resolved the issue of slavery, but not that of racism.' Along with the political calculations surrounding who gets invited to the White House are matters of musical tastes and opinionated first ladies, ingredients that make for good storytelling."—Boston Globe
Dr. Clarence Lusane has published in The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Baltimore Sun, Oakland Tribune, Black Scholar, and Race and Class. He often appears on PBS, BET, C-SPAN, and other national media.
Castaneda's remarkable book, S Street Rising, is more than a memoir; it's a portrait of a city in crisis. It's the adrenalin-infused story of the street where Castaneda quickly became a regular, and where a fledgling church led by a charismatic and streetwise pastorwas protected by the local drug kingpin, a dangerous man who followed an old-school code of honor. It's the story of Castaneda's friendship with an exceptional police homicide commander whose career was derailed when he ran afoul of Mayor Marion Barry and his political cronies. And it's a study of the city itself as it tried to rise above the bloody crack epidemic and the corrosive politics of the Barry era. S Street Rising is The Wire meets the Oscar-winning movie Crash. And it's all true.
One of those, "The Negro in Pittsburgh," lay dormant in the Pennsylvania State Library until it was microfilmed in 1970. The WPA History of the Negro in Pittsburgh marks the first publication of this rich body of information. This unique historical study of the city’s black population features articles on civil rights, social class, lifestyle, culture, folklore, and institutions from colonial times through the 1930s.
Thoroughly overhauled and expanded, the second edition of this popular, fact-packed book features updated maps and photographs, as well as the latest information on lodgings and other facilities for hikers, bikers, and campers on weekend excursions or extended outdoor vacations. It also delves deeper into the history of the upland region, relaying new narratives about Native American settlements, the European explorers and traders who were among the first settlers, and the lives of slaves and free blacks who lived along or escaped slavery via the canal.
Visitors to the C&O Canal who are interested in exploring natural wonders while tracing the routes of pioneers and engineers—not to mention the path of George Washington, who explored the Potomac route to the West as a young man and later laid out the first canals to make the river navigable—will find this guide indispensable.
For sources and additional illustrations, visit: http://www.press.jhu.edu/press/books/potomac-canal.htm
Gross draws on prison records, trial transcripts, news accounts, and rare mug shot photographs. Providing an overview of Philadelphia’s black women criminals, she describes the women’s work, housing, and leisure activities and their social position in relation to the city’s native-born whites, European immigrants, and elite and middle-class African Americans. She relates how news accounts exaggerated black female crime, trading in sensationalistic portraits of threatening “colored Amazons,” and she considers criminologists’ interpretations of the women’s criminal acts, interpretations largely based on notions of hereditary criminality. Ultimately, Gross contends that the history of black female criminals is in many ways a history of the rift between the political rhetoric of democracy and the legal and social realities of those marginalized by its shortcomings.
"Except for a few drinks, nothing is free in Charlie LeDuff's blunt and touching Work and Other Sins. The laughter and wisdom are hard won, the lessons are often painful... the sad tales and wit from the bar rail are endless and timeless." --The New York Times Book Review
Charlie LeDuff is that rare breed of news reporter—one who can cover hard-to-get-at stories in a unique and deeply personal style. In Work and Other Sins, he gives his incomparable take on New York City and its denizens—the bars, the workingmen, the gamblers, the eccentrics, the lonesome, and the wise. Whether writing about a racetrack gambler, a firefighter with a broken heart, or a pair of bickering brothers and their Coney Island bar, LeDuff takes the reader into the lives of his subjects to explore their fears, faults, and fantasies as well as their own small niches of the globe. The result is an at turns riotous, dirt-under-the-nails, contemplative, salty, joyous, whiskey-tinged, and utterly unique vision of life in the Big Apple.
During its evolution from Indian trails to modern interstates, the Boston Post Road, a system of over-land routes between New York City and Boston, has carried not just travelers and mail but the march of American history itself. Eric Jaffe captures the progress of people and culture along the road through four centuries, from its earliest days as the king of England’s “best highway” to the current era.
Centuries before the telephone, radio, or Internet, the Boston Post Road was the primary conduit of America’s prosperity and growth. News, rumor, political intrigue, financial transactions, and personal missives traveled with increasing rapidity, as did people from every walk of life.
From post riders bearing the alarms of revolution, to coaches carrying George Washington on his first presidential tour, to railroads transporting soldiers to the Civil War, the Boston Post Road has been essential to the political, economic, and social development of the United States.
Continuously raised, improved, rerouted, and widened for faster and heavier traffic, the road played a key role in the advent of newspapers, stagecoach travel, textiles, mass-produced bicycles and guns, commuter railroads, automobiles—even Manhattan’s modern grid. Many famous Americans traveled the highway, and it drew the keen attention of such diverse personages as Benjamin Franklin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, P. T. Barnum, J. P. Morgan, and Robert Moses.
Eric Jaffe weaves this entertaining narrative with a historian’s eye for detail and a journalist’s flair for storytelling. A cast of historical figures, celebrated and unknown alike, tells the lost tale of this road.
Revolutionary printer William Goddard created a postal network that united the colonies against the throne. General Washington struggled to hold the highway during the battle for Manhattan. Levi Pease convinced Americans to travel by stagecoach until, half a century later, Nathan Hale convinced them to go by train. Abe Lincoln, still a dark-horse candidate in early 1860, embarked on a railroad speaking tour along the route that clinched the presidency. Bomb builder Lester Barlow, inspired by the Post Road’s notorious traffic, nearly sold Congress on a national system of expressways twenty-five years before the Interstate Highway Act of 1956.
Based on extensive travels of the highway, interviews with people living up and down the road, and primary sources unearthed from the great libraries between New York City and Boston—including letters, maps, contemporaneous newspapers, and long-forgotten government documents—The King’s Best Highway is a delightful read for American history buffs and lovers of narrative everywhere.
New York Sun reporter Malcolm "Mike" Johnson was sent to cover the murder of a West Side boss stevedore and discovered a "waterfront jungle, set against a background of New York's magnificent skyscrapers" and providing "rich pickings for criminal gangs." Racketeers ran their territories while doubling as union officers, from the West Side's "Cockeye" Dunn, who'd kill for any amount of dock space, to Jersey City's Charlie Yanowsky, who controlled rackets and hiring until he was ice-picked to death.
Johnson's hard-hitting investigative series won a Pulitzer Prize, inspired a screenplay by Arthur Miller, and prompted Elia Kazan's Oscar-winning film On the Waterfront. And yet J. Edgar Hoover denied the existence of organized crime - even as the government's dramatic hearings into waterfront misdeeds became must-see television.
In Dark Harbor, Nathan Ward tells this archetypal crime story as if for the first time, taking the reader back to a city, and an era, at once more corrupt and more innocent than our own.
Building the city's first subway in the early years of the twentieth century required delicate collaboration between public and private interests and called for the expenditure of considerable sums of both public and private money. The book introduces us to Abram S. Hewitt, a late nineteenth-century mayor of New York City. It was Hewitt who realized that, while private capital alone had been perfectly adequate for building elevated rapid transit lines in New York as early as the 1870s, the more costly construction of underground rapid transit lines was far beyond the ability of private corporations to finance. Hewitt set in motion a chain of events that sanctioned the use of public funds for subway construction, with the completed facility then to be leased to a private company for day-to-day operation.
The private firm that emerged, both to build and to operate the first subway in New York, was called the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, a name that would later be rendered more crisply as the IRT. The City of New York and the Interborough Rapid transit Company inaugurated service over the city's first subway line on Thursday afternoon, October 27, 1904. Mayor George B. McClellan, son of the Civil War general, took the controls of the first ceremonial train at City Hall Station in downtown Manhattan and headed north. In one way or another, the subway has been going ever since.
The book also presents important tabular and statistical information, as well as clear and concise narrative descriptions of technical details.
Drawing on extensive archival research and oral history interviews, Lee vividly portrays this crucial chapter in postwar New York, revealing the permeability of boundaries between African American and Puerto Rican communities.
In the 1970s, New York City’s 77th Precinct was known as “the Alamo.” In Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, Brooklyn—neighborhoods notorious for drugs and violent crime—some of the worst criminals wore police uniforms and carried badges. Henry Winter was a good cop when he first entered the infamous 77th station house that was already infamous as a home to the dregs of the NYPD. Before long, he and fellow officer Anthony Magno found themselves deeply entrenched in the Alamo’s culture of extortion, lies, corruption, and crime—and they were regularly supplementing their incomes by ripping off thieves, drug dealers, junkies, and honest citizens alike. But the gravy train couldn’t stay on the rails forever. Winter and Magno were caught and faced a devastating choice: They could betray their crooked friends and colleagues by helping investigators expose the rot that festered at the Alamo’s core—or spend the next several years behind bars.
In Buddy Boys, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Mike McAlary blows the doors off 1 of the worst scandals ever to taint New York’s uniformed guardians, the men and women sworn to protect and serve the populace. Blistering, shocking, and powerful, it’s a frightening look inside the NYPD and an eye-opening exploration of the daily temptations that can seduce a good cop over to the dark side.
Ê Charley Rosen recaptures the futility of that season through the firsthand accounts of players, participants, and observers. Although the team was uniformly bad, there were still many memorable moments, and the lore surrounding the team is legendary. Once, when head coach Lou Rubin tried to substitute John Q. Trapp out of a game, Trapp refused and told Rubin to look behind the teamÕs bench, whereby one of TrappÕs friends supposedly opened his jacket to show his handgun. With only four wins at the All-Star break, Rubin was fired and replaced by player-coach Kevin Loughery.
In addition to chronicling the 76ersÕ woes, Perfectly Awful also captures the drama, culture, and attitude of the NBA in an era when many white fans believed that the league had too many black players.
What should replace the fallen towers? Who had the courage and vision to rise to the task of rebuilding? Who had the right, finally, to decide? The struggle began soon after September 11, 2001, as titanic egos took sides, made demands, and jockeyed for power. Lawyers, developers, grieving families, local residents, politicians, artists, and architects all had fierce needs, radically different ideas, strong emotions, and boundless determination. How could conflicting interests be resolved? After hundreds of hours of often rancorous meetings, the first sets of plans were finally revealed in the summer of 2002–and the results were staggeringly disappointing.
Yet, as Goldberger shows, the rebuilding process recovered and began to flourish. Rather than degenerating into turf wars, it evolved in ways that no one could have predicted. From the decision to reintegrate the site into the dense fabric of lower Manhattan, to the choice of Daniel Libeskind as master planner, to the appointment of a memorial jury, the process has been marked by moments of bold vision, effective community activism, and personal instinct, punctuating the often contentious politics of public participation.
Up from Zero takes in the full sweep of this tremendous effort. Goldberger presents a drama of creative minds at work, solving seemingly insurmountable clashes of taste, interests, and ideas. With unique access to the players and the process, and with a sophisticated understanding of architecture and its impact on people and on the social and cultural life of a city, Paul Goldberger here chronicles the courage, the sacrifices, and the burning passions at the heart of one of the greatest efforts of urban revitalization in modern times.
On September 11, 2001, FDNY Battalion Chief Richard “Pitch” Picciotto answered the call heard around the world. In minutes he was at Ground Zero of the worst terrorist attack on American soil, as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center began to burn—and then to buckle. A veteran of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Picciotto was eerily familiar with the inside of the North Tower. And it was there that he concentrated his rescue efforts. It was in its smoky stairwells where he heard and felt the South Tower collapse. Where he made the call for firemen and rescue workers to evacuate, while he stayed behind with a skeleton team of men to help evacuate a group of disabled and infirm civilians. And it was in the rubble of the North Tower where Picciotto found himself buried—for more than four hours after the building's collapse.
For almost one hundred years, The Plaza has mirrored the social history of Manhattan: its tastes in design, entertainment, restaurants and accommodations, as well as its adjustment to Prohibition, the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Cold War, women's rights, smokers' rights, animals' rights and British rock-and-roll. The first guests to sign the register-Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt-set the standard for the long procession of luminaries that followed: Mark Twain, Diamond Jim Brady, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Beatles, among many others.
In At The Plaza, the hotel's official historian, Curtis Gathje, has compiled a tremendous collection of photographs and vignettes chronicling the colorful history of a building, an institution, and a city.
What they could not imagine -- and what they would soon discover -- was the enormity of the task at Ground Zero. Four hundred million pounds of steel; 600,000 square feet of broken glass; and 2,700 vertical feet of building had been reduced to a pile of burning debris covering sixteen acres. Charlie, Bobby, and hundreds of other construction workers, many of whom had helped to build the Twin Towers, were the only ones qualified to safely handle the devastation.
Everyone working the site faced the looming danger of the collapse of the slurry wall protecting lower Manhattan from the waters of the Hudson River, the complexity of shifting tons of steel without losing additional lives, and the day-to-day challenge and emotional strain of recovering victims. Charlie Vitchers became the go-to guy for the hundreds of people and numerous agencies laboring to clean up Ground Zero. What he and Bobby Gray make dramatically evident is how the job of dismantling the remaining ruins and restoring order to the site was far more complex and dangerous than constructing the tallest buildings in the world.
With stunning full-color photographs donated by Joel Meyerowitz -- a celebrated and award-winning artist and the only non-newsroom photographer allowed access to the site -- and first-person oral accounts of the tragedy from the morning of the attack to the Last Column ceremony, Nine Months at Ground Zero is a harrowing but ultimately redemptive story of forthright and heroic service.