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In New York at War, historian Steven H. Jaffe offers an alternative history of New York City—arguably the most powerful and yet also the most vulnerable city on earth, and a place whose landscape, culture, and inhabitants have been shaped by violence near and far.The threats of war to New York have not always been direct, but even distant wars have had an important influenIn New York at War, historian Steven H. Jaffe offers an alternative history of New York City—arguably the most powerful and yet also the most vulnerable city on earth, and a place whose landscape, culture, and inhabitants have been shaped by violence near and far.The threats of war to New York have not always been direct, but even distant wars have had an important influence on the city. Beginning with an Indian attack on one of Henry Hudson’s crewmen (who in 1609 became the first recorded fatality of an act of war in the region’s history), Jaffe describes, in turn, each of the city’s encounters with war over the past four centuries. He recounts the threats Dutch settlers faced from Indians (and each other) after the West India Company established New Amsterdam in 1624; the British encroachment and eventual invasion that transformed the Dutch town into an English colony in 1664; the colonial wars (such as Queen Anne’s War and the French and Indian Wars) that affected the city over the next hundred years; and the divisions and depredations New York endured during the Revolutionary War. The city soon experienced new threats (and became a major naval stronghold) during the Quasi-War with France and the War of 1812, which is now viewed as a second war of independence.The nation’s newfound freedom did nothing to shield New York from the global conflicts that followed the Revolutionary War; in fact, New Yorkers’ sense of vulnerability persisted—and in many ways worsened—in the 19th and 20th centuries. Jaffe shows how New York became hugely powerful as the Union’s “money city” during the Civil War, but nevertheless retained strong economic and emotional ties to the South, and was so wracked by draft riots in 1863 that people suspected a Confederate plot was behind the violence. Many African-American New Yorkers were killed during the riots, highlighting the prejudice that has frequently characterized New York when the city’s inhabitants feel threatened.Fear and prejudice have been bedfellows throughout New York’s history, says Jaffe—and the 1863 draft riots are hardly the only example of this sorry fact. During the build-up to World War I and the war itself, German-Americans were the subject of intense suspicion, which seemed to be confirmed by the discovery of several bombs planted by German saboteurs; one successful attack destroyed an ammunition depot in Jersey City and shattered thousands of windows in Manhattan. (Had New Yorkers learned of the Kaiser’s unrealized plans to invade the city after a massive amphibious landing on Cape Cod, the consequences for German New Yorkers would likely have been fare more dire.) New Yorkers of German, Japanese, Italian, and Jewish heritage encountered their fair share of hostility during World War II, and in the atomic era that followed the city endured attacks by terrorist groups such as the Weathermen, disaffected Bay of Pigs veterans, Puerto Rican nationalists, and Islamic fundamentalists. Each new assault has seen New Yorkers heap discrimination upon neighbors they perceive as being similar to the attackers. The challenge throughout the city’s history, says Jaffe, has been to distinguish spies, saboteurs, and terrorists from their seemingly identical but innocent neighbors—a difficult task, to be sure, but one whose complexity does not exempt New Yorkers or other Americans from the need to try.Stretching from the colonial era to 9/11 and beyond, New York at War is that most rare of books: a work of history that is at once local and international, timely and timeless. Bringing a unique lens to bear on the world’s most celebrated and contested city, Jaffe reveals the unimaginable ways the city has changed—and how it has stubbornly endured—under threats both external and internal....

Title : New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780465036424
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 424 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham Reviews

  • J.M. Hushour
    2019-03-27 00:24

    A valuable perspective on the role plays in American lives, in America, through the microcosm of its (well, maybe) greatest city. Now, to be honest, I'd rather hear the stories of backwoods, southern weirdos, marginalized poor folks of all stripes, and average folk--frankly, minimum-ratio points of view aren't very exciting, because we have them shoved down our throats and they don't make people uncomfortable.I can forgive the lack of that here because New York is composed of lots of different kinds of people and Jaffe tends to focus on that. Sure, there's bits about the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the World Wars and how they affected and were affected by The Big Apple. That's all fascinating--how the war scared people, how they reacted, how they kicked the shit out of each other anyway (especially tensions during the Civil War; anti-Semitism; fascist support in NYC). But the best parts of the book focus on interethnic tensions, riots, cop violence, and urban terrorism. Separating the city away from global events, well, nigh impossible, is still a useful exercise in moving towards defining what the hell America might be. Or not. Which might be the point. I'm not sure...

  • Rob Jeffery
    2019-04-01 22:29

    I never thought of NYC as a military city until I read this book. From the Dutch settlement that eventually became Manhattan, New Yorkers have always lived under the threat of conflict, and sometimes in the midst of conflict. This great work of history takes you through NYC from the days of Dutch colonization, English colonization, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the US Civil War, the Cold War, and the various terrorist attacks that New York has experienced throughout its history.

  • Ivan
    2019-04-01 05:45

    New York at War is a fascinating and well-researched book chronicling the centuries of warfare that have plagued the city from its inception under the Dutch to modern day terrorism. I was surprised at the amount and fierceness of fighting that the city has witnessed. From the Civil War race riots to the bombings by the FALN, Steven Jaffe remembers many forgotten instances of violence. However, his strongest point is that New York shows its true colors during these periods of unrest, both good and bad. Throughout history the city has been in fear of attack from both inside and outside, and violence has often erupted between fellow New Yorkers. The parallelisms between NYC of the past and present are very insightful. In short, the city, being at the crossroads of the world, has always been plagued by conflict, foreign, racial, economic, political, and sociological. It will forever remain a symbol of America and modernism, forever making it a tempting target for all those who oppose.

  • Aloysius
    2019-03-29 03:51

    Great read recounting the history of New York City's experience with war. From the first days of New Amsterdam to the current concerns of the War on Terror, America's largest city has been no stranger to conflict with enemies from without and dissension from within, and this book recounts that perfectly.

  • Jason Robinson
    2019-03-29 00:42

    A very good history of the city of New York during times of war. I never really thought about New York in a military context, unlike other places that have been directly affected (London, Paris). This book does a very good job of showing both the vulnerability and resilience of New York and its citizens throughout American history.

  • Suzanne
    2019-04-04 00:24

    I only read the first half, which covers Dutch settlement through the Civil War. Those are the eras I'm most interested in when it comes to NYC history. It's good; lots of historical detail but it kept my interest. I'd recommend it to anyone who's a New York history geek like me.

  • Edward Moser
    2019-04-24 22:35

    Fascinating interview with author on John Batchelor Show re the Indian, Dutch, Revolutionary, Civil, World, and Terror wars in NYC.