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The Great Riots of New York: 1712-1873
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The Great Riots of New York: 1712-1873

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  39 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The Great Riots of New York presents an illustrated, fast-paced and chilling account of the major players and victims of over ten riots that rocked New York City from 1712–1873. Joel Tyler Headley's main purpose in writing this account over a century ago was to show his appreciation for the metropolitan police force, for he believed they "saved the city" during the Draft R ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published December 14th 2003 by Basic Books (first published 1873)
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Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Keeping in mind, of course, that these are only the great riots.

My go-to reference for discussions about the unexpected consequences of grave robbing and using a severed arm to taunt children.
Louis Picone
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about the story of the riots, how they were perceived in 1873 when Headley wrote the original book as well as how the riots were perceived in 1969 (when the afterword was written) as well as the critique Headley's interpretation. Also fascinating to read about the study of violence which was in its infancy in 1969
Aug 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs, New York obsessives
I've lived for eight years in New York and experienced one small blackout, one large, one terrorist attack, one water main break, several huge anti-war rallies and one Republican National Convention rally, fears about anthrax and MRSA, threat levels of all colors, and we have the reputation of bearing up and moving on.

But New York today is nothing compared to what it was, to the days when riots were a more-or-less regular event, be they over scarcity of flour, the Stamp Act, racial or religious
Aug 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Okay, look, this was originally written a long time ago so be prepared for some rather unsavory descriptions at times and some downright racism. If you're able to move beyond that (and there were a few times I wanted to fling the book out of my subway car and into the east river) it's actually a fairly informative read. I didn't even know about some of these riots and found myself researching even more about some of them. Especially the Astor Place riot because really, people? Fighting over whic ...more
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Great Riots of New York, despite being over 100 years old, is still highly readable. Joel Headly's text is clear and direct. His descriptions of New York's various riots are exciting and don't get bogged down in detail or asides. The centerpiece of the book, a narrative of the 1863 New York Draft Riots, is described almost like a battle. Indeed, Headly treats the Riots with such importance because he believed that they were a relevant extension of the Civil War during which they took place. ...more
Tom Darrow
Jul 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Originally published in 1873, this book contains many of the elements of books of that period. The writing style if dry and factual, but the information is good. Brings to light many of the lesser-known riots in NYC that shaped its history. The major draw back is one common to books of this sort... once you have read about several riots that are caused by similar things (racism, food shortages, etc) the rest get rather repetitive.
Jun 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating facts and details for students of NY history. I had not realised the draft riots of 1863 were so protracted and so bloody. There is possibly too much diary-like reportage gleaned from the papers of that time but he certainly brings all the riot action over the decades to life. Perhaps a good starting point to fire the imagination for further study.
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Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-have
Short of this read a large portion of our history is missing from the American mind.
Meg Cain
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Joel Tyler Headley was an American clergyman, historian, author, newspaper editor, and politician who served as Secretary of State of New York.
More about Joel Tyler Headley...