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Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth of the NYPD

Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth of the NYPD

by Bruce Chadwick
Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth of the NYPD

Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth of the NYPD

by Bruce Chadwick


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Nineteenth-century New York City was one of the most magnificent cities in the world, but also one of the most deadly. Without any real law enforcement for almost 200 years, the city was a lawless place where the crime rate was triple what it is today and the murder rate was five or six times as high. The staggering amount of crime threatened to topple a city that was experiencing meteoric growth and striving to become one of the most spectacular in America.

For the first time, award-winning historian Bruce Chadwick examines how rampant violence led to the founding of the first professional police force in New York City. Chadwick brings readers into the bloody and violent city, where race relations and an influx of immigrants boiled over into riots, street gangs roved through town with abandon, and thousands of bars, prostitutes, and gambling emporiums clogged the streets.

The drive to establish law and order and protect the city involved some of New York’s biggest personalities, including mayor Fernando Wood, police chief Fred Tallmadge, and journalist Walt Whitman.

Law and Disorder is a must read for fans of New York history and those interested in how the first police force, untrained and untested, battled to maintain law and order.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250082589
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/25/2017
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,060,053
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

BRUCE CHADWICK is the author of more than twenty-five books. A noted historian, Chadwick taught at Rutgers University and New Jersey City University. He covered crime for many years as a reporter for the New York Daily News. He holds a PhD from Rutgers and he lectures on the history of crime and forensics all over the world.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Author's Note xi

Chapter 1 Riot! 1

Chapter 2 The Gruesome Murder of Helen Jewett 26

Chapter 3 Extra! Extra! The Penny Press Chases Crime 41

Chapter 4 The Magnificent City and the Malignant Crime Wave 54

Chapter 5 Crime Everywhere 68

Chapter 6 Lydia Child, Grime, and Chaos 97

Chapter 7 Faith in the Constables Frays as the City Implodes 106

Chapter 8 Amateur Police Walk the Beat of a Raucous City 119

Chapter 9 Prostitution, Gambling, and Drinking: The Backbone of the Crime Surge and Downfall of the Police 133

Chapter 10 Five Points and the Boundaries of Hell 170

Chapter 11 The Brutal Murder of the Beautiful Cigar Girl 179

Chapter 12 Out with the Old, In with the New 190

Chapter 13 Police Brutality Raises Its Ugly Head 219

Chapter 14 Blood in the Streets 244

Chapter 15 The Fabulous Fernando Wood 263

Chapter 16 Blue Blood: The 1857 Police Riots 288

Epilogue 306

Notes 313

Bibliography 343

Index 353

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