Devil's Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America

Devil's Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America

by Barnet Schecter

Paperback(REPRINT)

$11.14 $16.95 Save 34% Current price is $11.14, Original price is $16.95. You Save 34%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802715081
Publisher: Walker & Company
Publication date: 01/09/2007
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.18(d)

About the Author

Historian Barnet Schecter is the author of The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Key Dates and Events     xi
Prologue: "We Have Not One Devil, But Many to Contend With"     1
"The Rebel Horde Had Invaded Pennsylvania in Force"     9
The Battle Lines Are Drawn: Race, Class, and Religion     29
Horace Greeley and the Birth of the Republican Party     46
Fernando Wood, the "Southern" Mayor of New York     59
"Slavery Must Die That the Nation Might Live"     77
Emancipation and lts Enemies     96
"A Highwayman's Call on Every American Citizen for '{dollar}300 or Your Life'"     113
"Down with the Rich Men!": The New York City Draft Riots Begin     125
"Chased, Stoned, and Beaten": "A Crusade Against Negroes"     143
Monday Night: "The Fiery Nucleus of the Entire Riot"     157
"Government in the Hands of the White Race Alone"     171
"The Police Cannot Much Longer Sustain the Contest"     184
Doom or Deliverance: Wednesday, July 15-Day Three     201
"Hellish Passions Culminating in Riots, Arson, and Murder"     214
The Final Days: Thursday and Friday     224
A Plot to "Make the Northern States a Battle-Field"     240
Aftermath: Sitting on Two Volcanoes     253
"Our Bleeding, Bankrupt, Almost DyingCountry"     269
"Villainous Threats of Laying Northern Cities in Ashes"     286
War's End: Slavery Is Dead, the "Demon of Caste" Lives On     298
"Condemnation and Reversal of Negro Suffrage"     310
Strange Bedfellows: Greeley and the Liberal Republicans     332
A Final Devil's Bargain: The End of Reconstruction     353
A Walking Tour of Civil War New York     371
Notes     377
Bibliography     413
Index     423

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Devil's Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Barnet Schecter¿s magisterial study of the five day insurrection that erupted in New York City, ¿The Devil¿s Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America¿, is one of those historical accounts that illuminate more than just the times the work is set in. By providing a multilayered analysis to the issues that marked this breakdown of social order, and through a deft, perfect-pitch, use of basic sources, Mr. Schecter lets the contemporary voices of those living through these events and, at times, driving them, speak for themselves. The result is a tableau of compelling immediacy that is rarely seen in a historical study. Some of the expected characters are here: Lincoln, Seward and Lee, etc. but it is the less well-known characters of that era that permit the real force of the book to be felt. By knitting together and contrasting the recorded dialogue of the restive ferment of the slums of New York and Boston with the tense interchanges originating in the mahoganied board-rooms of these same cities Mr. Schecter recreates the social tensions of these turbulent times. With what seems to be an unerring sense of how the character of a subject will define for him the peculiar social reality that he may act in, we meet figures who by virtue of the author¿s skill and sympathy are never rendered as simple, one-dimensional heroes or villains. Landmark works in any field of study require that a sense of scope, sensitivity and balance be observed throughout the effort. But such traits alone cannot mark it as memorable. For this the electricity of personal exchanges in statehouses, boardrooms and back alleys must be captured in their raw force and then be woven in into a narrative that flows with seeming effortlessness, from it its own momentum. This is what Mr. Schecter has accomplished.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Over the years I've read many Civil War books that have mentoned the New York Draft Riots,but have never gone into great detail about the event until now.By July 1863 the fate of the Union hung in the balance.While an anxious Pres.Lincoln and a nation awaited word on the titanic clash that was taking place in a town called Gettysburg,military officials were gearing up for the draft.Battles at Antietam,Fredericksburg,and Chancellorsville had depleted the Union Army's ranks.The Irish already weary of the war (The Irish Brigade had suffered grievous losses at Antitam and Fredericksburg)were further enraged by the $300 it cost to buy a replacement.They also resented the fact that their jobs would go to the blacks while they were off fighting.It only takes a few to roil the masses,which is what exactly took place.Three days of rioting left hundreds dead and wounded,it took an army unit returning from Gettysburg to help put down the insurrection.The book records many of the atrocities committed by the Irish mobs towards the blacks (lynching,dismemberment)but also documents the valor of many Irish towards the blacks.The burning of the Colored Orphanage comes to mind.This book can be read by both historian or someone who doesn't know much about the Civil War and wants to learn more. A solid addition to any Civil War library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Barnet Schecter's new book is much more than an in-depth examination of one of America's most deadly civil disturbances, it is a tour de force rendering of the many problems the newly 'Re-United' States suffered through during the entire Reconstruction Era (1865-1877). Schecter's exhaustive look at the real causes behind the July 1863 'Draft' Riots is certain to make this book the definitive account of those several tragic days yet, he doesn't end his compelling story when authorities finally -- with the help of Federal troops -- brought the violence to a halt on July 17, 1863. Schecter traces the post-riot effects that the economic, racial and political forces unleashed during the riots had on the attempts to 'reconstruct' the South and achieve social justice for all Americans during the Reconstruction Era. The research is impeccable, the narrative is compelling and the entire book is an outstanding 'window on the past,' chronicling an entire era. Supplementing this 'must-have' book is a delightful appendix, the author's 'Walking Tour Guide to Civil War New York' that readers may use to discover the surprising history of that era still to be found in America's greatest city. I enthusiastically recommend Barnet Schecter's outstanding new book, as well as his previous book, 'The Battle for New York,' an outstanding account of Washington's battles from Long Island/Brooklyn to Ft. Washington during the Revolutionary War in 1776. Like 'Civil War Draft Riots,' Schecter has provided an informative and very interesting walking tour guide for 'The Battle for New York' (also available at Barnes & Noble).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago