More Powerful Than Dynamite: Radicals, Plutocrats, Progressives, and New York's Year of Anarchyby Thai Jones
In 1914 the United States was on the verge of revolution: industrial depression in the east, striking coal miners in Colorado, and increasingly tense relations with Mexico. In New York, the trouble began in January when a crushing winter caused homeless shelters to overflow. By April, anarchists paraded past industrialists' mansions, and tens of thousands
In 1914 the United States was on the verge of revolution: industrial depression in the east, striking coal miners in Colorado, and increasingly tense relations with Mexico. In New York, the trouble began in January when a crushing winter caused homeless shelters to overflow. By April, anarchists paraded past industrialists' mansions, and tens of thousands filled Union Square demanding "Bread or Revolution." Then, on July 4, a detonation destroyed a Harlem tenement in the largest explosion the city had ever seen. Among the dead were three bomb-makersincited by anarchist Alexander Berkmanwho were preparing to dynamite the estate of John D. Rockefeller Jr., widely vilified for a massacre of his company's striking workers that spring.
More Powerful Than Dynamite charts how anarchist anger, progressive idealism, and plutocratic influence converged in that July explosion. Its cast includes celebrated figures such as Emma Goldman, Upton Sinclair, and Andrew Carnegie and the fascinating but heretofore little known, including Frank Tannenbaum, a teenager who insisted churches provide shelter for the homeless; police inspector Max Schmittberger, too honest for his department and too crooked for everyone else; and Becky Edelsohn, a young anarchist known for her red tights and for spitting in millionaires' faces. Historian and journalist Thai Jones creates a fascinating portrait of a city on the edge of chaos coming to terms with modernity.
“Jobless, homeless, hungry, desperate. Remarkable how those words resonate through the years in the richest and most powerful country in world history. Their significance is dramatically highlighted in this compelling and vivid portrayal of the currents that swept the country a century ago, and have come back to haunt and inspire us once again today. More Powerful Than Dynamite is an impressive piece of work.” Noam Chomsky
“Almost exactly a century before Occupy Wall Street launched a cause and gripped a nation, a different kind of radical movement in New York City was stirring, stunning, and scaring the country. Thai Jones, a brilliant historian and breathtaking writer, tells this compelling story in MORE POWERFUL THAN DYNAMITE. In his hands, the past is indeed prologue.” Samuel G. Freedman, author of Jew Vs. Jew
“New York was as divided by class, race, and ideology a century ago as it is in our own time. That the city actually exploded in 1914 is not surprising. What is surprising is how subtly, persuasively, and imaginatively Thai Jones has interpreted the period and brought a rich cast of characters to life. More Powerful Than Dynamite is an exciting book.” Kenneth T. Jackson, Columbia University, editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City
“Thai Jones brings into vivid life a period of American history when the haves and the have nots were close to civil war, a fascinating recreation of people we have forgotten at our own peril. An enjoyable and enlightening read.” Marge Piercy, poet, novelist, memoirist
“A compelling and layered portrait of a year, a nation, and a people on the verge, More Powerful Than Dynamite is filled with echoes that clamor in contemporary America. The writing itself is so rich and powerful, the selection of scenes so smart, the details so telling, that it reads like an epic novel.” Bill Ayers, co-founder of the Weather Underground and author of Fugitive Day
“[T]his book begins with an intensely dramatic scene, and continues to fascinate the reader right through to the end. We follow a group of people--especially the notorious "Weather" people--who are at the center of the extraordinary events of the Sixties. Abstractions like "radicalism", "pacifism" "violence" are given a human face, as we see the characters in this book struggle, often in troubling ways, for a world free of war and injustice.” Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States on A Radical Line
- Bloomsbury USA
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Meet the Author
Thai Jones is author of A Radical Line: From the Labor Movement to the Weather Underground, One Family's Century of Conscience. Formerly a reporter for Newsday, he is a graduate of Vassar College and the Columbia School of Journalism, and has earned a Ph.D. in U.S. History at Columbia University.
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Disappointed that the author did not know about or connect to the other radical movements throughout the country at the time.