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Pulitzer Prize Finalist and Anisfield-Wolf Award Winner
In New York Burning, Bancroft Prize-winning historian Jill Lepore recounts these dramatic events of 1741, when ten fires blazed across Manhattan and panicked whites suspecting it to be the work a slave uprising went on a rampage. 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.
Even back in the seventeenth century, 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 the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her books include the New York Times best seller The Secret History of Wonder Woman and Book of Ages, a finalist for the National Book Award. She 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
"The most vivid and telling description of life and death in a colonial seaport yet produced by a historian. With a lacerating attention to detail, Lepore reveals teh tragedies endured and inflicted in a colonial society that combined freedom and slavery in crowded towns of start cruelty and vaunting ambitions." —The New Republic