New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-century Manhattan

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Vintage Books, 2006 - History - 323 pages
2 Reviews
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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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mjgrogan - LibraryThing

Lepore offers a well-researched reconstruction of the alleged conspiracy of the 1741 arsons in New York. Is this an important book? I imagine so. Is it a “good read”? Not necessarily. Her narrative ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - theageofsilt - LibraryThing

An interesting and detailed look at a forgotten episode in American history - the execution of over 30 slaves accused in a series of arsons in New York City in 1741. Not unlike the Salem witch trials ... Read full review

Contents

PROLOGUE The Plot
5
CHAPTER ONE Ice
15
CHAPTER TWO Fire
40
CHAPTER THREE Stone
64
CHAPTER FOUR Paper
93
CHAPTER FIVE Water
129
CHAPTER SIX Blood
170
CHAPTER SEVEN Ink
198
EPILOGUE Dust
221
Appendices
233
Source Notes and Abbreviations
275
Acknowledgments
309
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

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.

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