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A City in Terror: Calvin Coolidge and the 1919 Boston Police Strike Paperback – May 15, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Boston Police Strike, long forgotten and too long ignored, is here described with great drama and verve by Francis Russell. It is an extraordinary moment in the history of Boston, as well as an important event in the nation's labor history.--Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

"Francis Russell is wonderfully aware of the subtle but important distinctions of class and neighborhood that have been so much a part of Boston's history. A City in Terror is well written, full of shrewd social analysis and cultural history, and provides an account that gives perspective to today's serious confrontations."--Robert Coles, New York Review of Books

"Compelling and lively . . . A City in Terror has plenty of drama and heroes and villains. Russell is at home in the history of the era and in Massachusetts, and he tells his story well; A City in Terror makes stimulating reading." --David M. Reimers, American Historical Review

"A fascinating study and social history of one of the strangest episodes in American labor history . . . as well as an unforgettable lesson in the machinations of big-city and state politics."--The New Republic

About the Author

Francis Russell was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1910. He attended Boston-area schools and during World War II was a captain in the Black Watch Royal Canadian Highlanders. He is the author of Tragedy in Dedham: The Story of the Sacco and Vanzetti Case, which won the Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Russell died in 1989.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (May 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807050334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807050330
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #672,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Williams on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would have liked to have seen a greater number of references and footnoting for the book. While a very good history, it lacks what I would consider a true scholarly outlook. I do not doubt the research, but I have a problem with not being able to follow up on the research.

Overall, this book is an excellent resource for the Boston Police Strike, especially in lieu of the results (the First Red Scare).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robin B. Eisengart on January 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is great for anyone interested in Boston history, labor history or American history in the period following WWI when labour unions were striking all across the country and fear and violence were shaping politics in America.

The riots, and the politically shrewd actions of Goverenor Calvin Coolidge led to his election as President in a time when the handling of unions and strikes was as important of an issue as any in modern day politics.

I highly recommend this book if you are interested in seeing what life was like in 1918, what happens when the police force of a large city strikes, and what chain of events can propel a man to the highest political office in the world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jersey City Native on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I READ A NOVEL THAT WAS SET AT THE TIME OF THE BOSTON POLICE STRIKE AND WANTED TO KNOW MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE STRIKE AND THE ROLE OF GOVERNOR COOLIDGE AND OTHERS. THIS BOOK IS REFERENCED AS AN AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE. IT IS A SCHOLARLY BOOK BUT NONETHELESS VERY ENTERTAINING AND OFFERS MANY INSIGHTS INTO THE PEOPLE AND ISSUES IN PLAY.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter on January 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
When reading books about historical events it is often necessary for the writer to have an engaging style. The style was off putting because it really had no spirit or energy . Having said that the material itself was not presented in such a way as to make it interesting enough to captivate the reader. The book was overwhelmingly in its detail about the people involved in the contract dispute but not in such a way as to humanize them or even make them interesting. Almost 200 pages are dedicated to the before and after while about 40 involve the riot itself. Even that description was more categorical and not engrossing. Basically, it is an emotionless description of a contract dispute and that is why I found it difficult to read. I would only recommend this book to someone who had a very narrow interest in the subject.
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A City in Terror: Calvin Coolidge and the 1919 Boston Police Strike
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