New York Burning
Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan
By Jill Lepore
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400032266, 352pp.)
Publication Date: August 8, 2006
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Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Anisfield-Wolf Award Winner
Over a frigid few weeks in the winter of 1741, ten fires blazed across Manhattan. With each new fire, panicked whites saw more evidence of a slave uprising. In the end, thirteen black men were burned at the stake, seventeen were hanged and more than one hundred black men and women were thrown into a dungeon beneath City Hall.
In New York Burning, Bancroft Prize-winning historian Jill Lepore recounts these dramatic events, re-creating, with path-breaking research, the nascent New York of the seventeenth century. Even then, the city was a rich mosaic of cultures, communities and colors, with slaves making up a full one-fifth of the population. Exploring the political and social climate of the times, Lepore dramatically shows how, in a city rife with state intrigue and terror, the threat of black rebellion united the white political pluralities in a frenzy of racial fear and violence.
Jill Lepore is Professor of History at Harvard University and the author of The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity, which won both the Bancroft Prize and Phi Beta Kappa's Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, as well as A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States. She is a contributor to The New Yorker. Lepore lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“A fascinating social and political history.” –The New York Times Book Review“Vivid and provocative; [Lepore] evokes eighteenth-century New York in all its moral and physical messiness.” –The New Yorker “A vivid and convincing account of the ‘plot’ and its aftermath.... [A] sober, meticulous, balanced book”–The Washington Post Book World “A historical study that is both intellectually rigorous and broadly accessible.... The type of book that we need to read and historians need to write, more often.”–Newsday“[Lepore] brings this terrifying period vividly to life.... A gripping read that shows how quickly fear spread through a city resting upon a terrible imbalance.”–Newark Star-Ledger