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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.
“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