The Volunteers: A Historical Novel of New York City's Firemen, 1830-1865
Donald Collins, 2006 - 490 pages
Historical novel of New York City's volunteer firemen during the turbulent period of industrialization, immigration, abolishionist movement and Civil War. The volunteer system was under attack by a political/insurance industry clique pushing for a paid fire department equipped with the new steam fire engines, which the volunteers opposed. A story of bravery and courage of men who came from all walks of life and were responsible for saving the city from destruction by dozens of disastrous fires, only to be scorned by politicians and labeled as rowdies by their insurance enemies. An interesting look at New York in this period of change and incudes how the game of baseball originated with the volunteer firemen. The New York volunteers carried their firefighting experience west during the gold rush and were responsible for formation of many fire departments in western states. A must read for firefighting, newspaper, telegraph, insurance, New York City and Philadelphia history buffs.
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