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Gotham at War:Books About New York City During Wartime

Foreign soldiers haven't set foot in New York City since the Revolutionary War, but each of America's wars have made their mark on Gotham. Now, amid talk of going to war with Iraq, historians and curators are looking back at New York City during wartimes past. Three books on New York during wartime have just been published, a downtown exhibition compares the city's rebirth after the revolution to the recovery after 9/11, and a new Martin Scorsese movie takes place in Civil War New York. A look at New York City, war by war.
Accompanying article.

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Title Author Release Date Publisher Subject

American Scoundrel: The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles
Thomas Keneally
2002 Doubleday and Company
Civil War
An often "spellbinding" biography of Dan Sickles, a notorious New York politician and Civil War general who was acquitted of murdering his wife's lover.

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Banished Children of Eve: A Novel of Civil War New York
Peter Quinn
1995 Viking Penguin
Civil War
A novel focusing on the experiences Irish immigrants in Civil War-era New York.

Battle of Brooklyn 1776
John J. Gallagher
Perseus Publishing
Revolutionary War
Despite a British victory, this first major battle of the Revolutionary War symbolized the spirit of independence that eventually lead the United States to win the war.

Behind the Lines
Isabelle Holland
1994 Scholastic Trade
Civil War
A "moving historical novel" for young adults about class and race differences that is set against the New York City draft riots.

Chaining the Hudson: The Fight for the River in the American Revolution
Lincoln Diamant
1994 Citadel Press
Revolutionary War
Tells the story of the struggle for command of the Hudson River during the Revolutionary War and the story of the chain stretched across the Hudson River at Bear Mountain.

Divided Loyalties: How the American Revolution Came to New York
Richard M. Ketchum
2002 Henry Holt and Company, Inc.
Revolutionary War
Describes how the Revolution's arrival in New York City tore apart the community. Ketchum explains why New Yorkers with similar life experiences--even members of the same family--chose different sides when the war erupted. Ketchum "weaves a complex but forceful narrative web from many diaries and memoirs."

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Duty, Honor, Privilege: New York City's Silk Stocking Regiment and the Breaking of the Hindenburg Line
Stephen L. Harris
2002 Brasseys, Inc.
World War I

Elmira: Death Camp of the North
Michael Horigan
2002 Stackpole Books
Civil War
History of the Elmira, New York prison camp, which had the highest death rate of prison camps in the North

Father Knickerbocker Rebels: New York City During the Revolution
T. J. Wertenbaker
1948 C. Scribner's Sons
Revolutionary War

Generous Enemies: Patriots and Loyalists in Revolutionary New York (Early American Studies)
Judith L. Van Buskirk
2002 University of Pennsylvania Press
Revolutionary War
Van Buskirk examines loyalists and rebels in New York, showing how personal concerns -- among British and American soldiers, free blacks, slaves, and businessmen -- often triumphed over political ideology.

Gotham at War: New York City, 1860-1865 (The American Crisis Series, No. 9)
Edward K. Spann
2002 Scholarly Resources
Civil War
A history of the complex role New York City played in the Civil War.

History of New York During the Revolutionary War
Thomas Jones
1879 New York Historical Society
Revolutionary War

New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War
Iver Bernstein
1994 Oxford University Press
Civil War
A "Rashomon-like investigation" of the 1863 New York City Draft Riots.

New York City During the War for Independence
Theodore Barck Jr.
1931 Columbia University Press
Revolutionary War

New York in the American Revolution
Wilbur Cortez Abbott
1973 Haskell House Publishing
Revolutionary War
A picturesque account of New York in the time of the Revolutionary War.

Paradise Alley: A Novel
Kevin Baker
2002 HarperCollins
Civil War
A historical novel set during the Draft Riots of 1863, widely regarded as the worst episode of civic unrest in New York's history.

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Redcoats and Petticoats
Katherine Kirkpatrick and Ronald Himler
1999 Holiday House, Inc.
Revolutionary War
"Basing the book on true incidents and real people of the Revolutionary War, Kirkpatrick re-creates the actions of Patriot spies begun by Robert Townsend and assisted by strong-willed, cool-headed Nancy Strong in the little town of Setauket, New York," wrote Kirkus Reviews.

Reluctant Revolutionaries: New York City and the Road to Independence, 1767-1776
Joseph S. Tiedemann
1997 Cornell University Press
Revolutionary War
In a study of New York City between 1763 and 1776, Tiedemann explains how residents labored to build a consensus under difficult circumstances. He pays close attention to the dynamics of British colonial rule and its impact on New York.

Second Founding: New York City and the Reconstruction of American Democracy
David Quigley
2003 Hill and Wang
Civil War
David Quigley argues that New York City's politics and politicians lay at the heart of the post-Civil War Reconstruction era.

The Armies of the Streets; The New York City Draft Riots of 1863
Adrian Cook
1974 University Press of Kentucky
Civil War
Provides a detailed account of the riots, but, according to "Gotham at War" author Edward Spann, makes the mistake of not "adequately investigating its context."

The Battle for Manhattan
Bruce Bliven
1955 Holt
Revolutionary War
Barnard College History professor Herb Sloan recommends Bliven's books on the revolution.

The Battle for New York
Barnet Schecter
2002 Walker And Company
Revolutionary War
Schecter presents the story of New York from the beginning of the American Revolution in the spring of 1775 to the city's evacuation by the British late in 1783.

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The Campaign of 1776 Around New York and Brooklyn
Henry Phelps Johnston
1971 Brooklyn Historical Society
Revolutionary War
Originally published in 1878.

The Civil War and New York City
Ernest A. McKay
1990 (out of print) Syracuse University Press
Civil War
A history of New York City's participation in the Civil War effort. Explores the civil unrest and divided political sentiments in New York from the 1860 presidential campaign until Abraham Lincoln's 1865 death.

The Murrays of Murray Hill
Charles Monaghan
1998 Urban History Press
Revolutionary War
"A carefully researched history of the prominent Quaker family for whom the Murray Hill section of Manhattan is named. A lively portrait of a fascinating family, their milieu, and their influence on their turbulent age," wrote Kirkus Reviews.

The New York Loyalists
Philip Ranlet
1986 University of Tennessee Press
Revolutionary War

The Second Rebellion: The Story of the New York City Draft Riots of 1863
James McCague
1968 (out of print) Dial Press
Civil War
A "good narrative history" according to "Gotham at War" author Edward Spann, but one that exaggerates "the significance of [the] subject by not investigating its context."

Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II
Jennet Richards Conant
2002 Simon & Schuster
World War II
The story of Alfred Lee Loomis, a powerful Wall Street investor and "gentleman scientist" whose funding of a research facility in Tuxedo Park, NY, was instrumental in the technological developments that aided Allied victory in World War II (review available at

Under the Guns
Bruce Bliven
1972 Harper and Row
Revolutionary War
Barnard College History professor Herb Sloan recommends Bliven's books on the revolution.

Writing & Fighting the Civil War: Soldier Correspondence to the New York Sunday Mercury (Writing and Fighting Series)
William B. Styple, Brian C. Pohanka, Edwin C. Bearss
2000 Bell Grove Publishing Company
Civil War
A collection of soldiers' letters to the New York Sunday Mercury.


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