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Gotham at War: New York City, 1860-1865 (The American Crisis Series: Books on the Civil War Era) Paperback – September 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0842050579 ISBN-10: 0842050574

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Product Details

  • Series: The American Crisis Series: Books on the Civil War Era
  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0842050574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842050579
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,932,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Although its inhabitants were not uniform in opinion, New York City nevertheless played a major role in the Civil War. Spann (history, emeritus, Indiana State Univ.; Metropolis: New York City, 1840-1857) discusses the important part that the city played in the war, from sending a force to defend Washington, DC, against Confederate capture in the spring of 1861 to ultimate Union victory in April 1865. New York was ever present as a center of military manpower, the source of strong financial support, and a center of military supplies and naval shipbuilding. But New York also had strong Southern sympathies and commercial interests based on prewar business dealings with Southern plantation owners. As became clear in the terrible draft riots of 1863, many New Yorkers also held violently racist views and were hostile to the draft and to the abolition of slavery. Spann provides welcome insight into these matters in a clear, workmanlike writing style. Recommended for New York City and Civil War collections of academic libraries.
Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

A readable account of the enormously important role that the nation's largest city played as an economic engine, a source of military manpower, the mediai center of the North, a boiling pot of ethnic and racial tensions, and a major headache as well as asset for the Lincoln administration. (James M. McPherson, author of Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam)

Edward K. Spann artfully shows both how the war transformed New York and how events in the nation's preeminent city influenced the course of the epic national struggle. His narrative reveals the tensions inherent in a northern city where political, economic, and racial factors bespoke lingering attachments to the South. (Roger Biles, East Carolina University)

An extremely readable overview of NYC's contributions to and experiences during the US Civil War. (CHOICE)

Brimming with memorable tales of sacrifice, greed, ingenuity, and political mischief, Gotham at War is our most rounded and readable account of New York's critical role in the defeat of the Confederacy. Every page is a revelation. (Edwin G. Burrows, co-author of Gotham:A History of New York City to 1898, winner of the Pulitzer Prize)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
The ninth volume in the outstanding SR Books "The American Crisis Series", Gotham At War: New York City, 1860-1865 provides an unusual focus on the history of New York City during the Civil War era. New York's pro-Union spirit was not a unified reaction to the war: some opposed the war effort and sided with the South, and the city's poorly trained military force was offset by a strong financial backing which had a strong influence on Union successes. The analysis of economic and social influences on the outcome of the war makes for fascinating reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
The tremendous yet perplexing role that New York City played during the Civil War has long been an unnecessarily neglected subject in the City's--and the Nation's--history. Professor Spann's book fills that void.
Because of its powerful financial ties to the South's cotton industry, as well as its immigrants' fierce mistrust of emancipation, the City was undoubtedly the 'northernmost southern city'. On the other side of the coin, New York City stood to make fortunes on the war industry, and the Republican controlled State government was going to do its best to support the Union's effort. Because of these facts, the City was doomed to tear itself apart over and again throughout the conflict: the Draft Riots of 1863 being the most famous incarnation. Professor Spann's book not only covers these crucial elements, but features many others: the power of a manipulative press, the efficient rabble-rousing on both sides of the issue, the paranoia, the race/class/ethnic tensions, etc.
So, why four stars instead of five? Purely subjective reasons. First, the book makes several references to other works in order to just shoot them down. (The air of superiority crops up too often.) Also Professor Spann makes the point, several times, that the press--and the diaries of George Templeton Strong--were strongly biased and unreliable. Yet, the author often cites these works to shore up some of his arguments. I'm sure Professor Spann has a reason to trust certain articles or entries, I only wished I had. Still, this is a great read and a fascinating history that deserves attention
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Format: Paperback
For those looking for urban history and political discontent this book has it all. This covers the time in the civil war focusing mostly on the 1863 draft riots in New York City. It is a convoluted story that Professor Spann tries to sort out doing an excellent job. This was one of the first books I read on the civil war and it gives a very different perspective than you can get anywhere else. It is an enjoyable read and is a great addition to the urban history of New York City.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This account is very interesting. It is written in an easy style. I am researching this period in New York City for some future writing. The author seems to go into all aspects of the effect of the Civil War on political parties and the population in general. I have not finished it yet but look forward to continued reading.
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