Revolting New York
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Revolting New York

How 400 Years of Riot, Rebellion, Uprising, and Revolution Shaped a City

Edited by Neil Smith and Don Mitchell

Title Details

Pages: 368

Illustrations: 90 b&w images

Trim size: 8.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 04/01/2018

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5282-4

List Price: $30.95


Pub Date: 04/01/2018

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5281-7

List Price: $99.95


Pub Date: 04/01/2018

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5280-0

List Price: $30.95

Revolting New York

How 400 Years of Riot, Rebellion, Uprising, and Revolution Shaped a City

Edited by Neil Smith and Don Mitchell

The many uprisings that helped to forge modern-day New York City

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  • Contributors

Occupy Wall Street did not come from nowhere. It was part of a long history of riot, revolt, uprising, and sometimes even revolution that has shaped New York City. From the earliest European colonization to the present, New Yorkers have been revolting. Hard hitting, revealing, and insightful, Revolting New York tells the story of New York’s evolution through revolution, a story of near-continuous popular (and sometimes not-so-popular) uprising.

Richly illustrated with more than ninety historical and contemporary images, historical maps, and maps drawn especially for the book, Revolting New York provides the first comprehensive account of the historical geography of revolt in New York, from the earliest uprisings of the Munsee against the Dutch occupation of Manhattan in the seventeenth century to the Black Lives Matter movement and the unrest of the Trump era. Through this rich narrative, editors Neil Smith and Don Mitchell reveal a continuous, if varied and punctuated, history of rebellion in New York that is as vital as the more standard histories of formal politics, planning, economic growth, and restructuring that largely define our consciousness of New York’s story.

Contributors: Marnie Brady, Kathleen Dunn, Zultán Gluck, Rachel Goffe, Harmony Goldberg, Amanda Huron, Malav Kanuga, Esteban Kelly, Manissa McCleave Maharawal, Don Mitchell, Justin Sean Myers, Brendan P. O’Malley, Raymond Pettit, Miguelina Rodriguez, Jenjoy Roybal, McNair Scott, Erin Siodmak, Neil Smith, Peter Waldman, and Nicole Watson.

Like a woke dog zapped by an invisible electric barrier whenever it tries to leave the yard, I now recognize the real reason I can’t escape this place. Revolting New York is an electrifying compendium of tales of four centuries of the energetic insubordination that is so completely foundational to our character. While the causes and constituencies have varied all over our map, the constant has been taking to the streets, fomenting an unending festival of resistance. I couldn’t be prouder than to discover that my homes downtown have been at uprising’s very epicenter. You can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the Union Square!

—Michael Sorkin, author of What Goes Up: The Rights and Wrongs of the City

Revolting New York takes you on a whirlwind tour of Indian wars, riots, slave revolts, strikes, protests, and police rampages, from Dutch New Amsterdam to Occupy Wall Street. The sheer number and ferocity of past disorders, and the strangeness of so many of them, will leave you seeing the history of New York as you never did before.

—Joshua B. Freeman, author of Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II

Urban unrest, observed Alain Locke after the Harlem Riots of 1935, is like ‘a revealing flash of lightning’ that illuminates larger dynamics. Using this insight as premise and guide, Revolting New York reveals how the entire social history of the city can be narrated through those frequent moments, over the past four centuries, when the tensions of urban life, and the violence of inequality, have boiled over in its streets. This volume’s creators, led by two of our foremost urban geographers, show that you can’t understand social change or urban history without examining the ‘flashpoints’ through which the city is fought for—and sometimes even won—by people desirous of a life here that’s not revolting at all.

—Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, coeditor of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas

Revolting New York offers an extraordinary chronology of the Big Apple’s willingness to fight for, well, just about anything, from Munsee Indian attacks on Dutch settlers in 1655 to slave revolts in 1712 to antiabolitionist, flour, and military-draft riots in the mid 1800s to labor and communist unrest and all manner of rabble rousing throughout the last hundred years up to Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and early Trump protests. In all, nearly fifty incidents are profiled in this history of 'New York’s evolution through revolution.'

—Foreword Reviews

Revolting New York is an important and timely edited collection exploring the role of violent unrest in the history of New York City. This is an extremely good collection and a welcome addition to the complex history of New York City.

—Daniel J. Opler, Journal of American History

Revolting New York brings together short chapters, vignettes, illustrations, and maps to highlight the long history of near-continuous rebellion that has shaped New York City. The book can serve effectively as a reference or—in our trying years of the early twenty-first century—a worthwhile reminder of the rich tradition of revolt in New York.

—Graeme Pente, H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online

The writing is first-rate, with ample illustrations and many contemporary and historical images. Fast paced and fascinating, like the city it profiles.

—Library Journal

Revolting New York was a real treat to read, which left me with a mixed feeling of despair and hope. . . . Will be of much interest not only to those interested in the city's past and present, but also to all those who are interested in urban unrest, racialization, class struggle, gender politics, policing, and the making and remaking of urban landscapes through tension, conflict, and struggle.

—Mustafa Dikec, AAG Book Review

The editors and authors of Revolting New York set themselves a mammoth task. They should be proud of what they have achieved–the book is accessible, well-written, and engaging. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in urban history or dissent, and I’m sure I will be re-reading it, in whole and in part, many times in the future.

—Hannah Awcock, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography


Best Reference Source, Library Journal

Erin Siodmak

JenJoy Roybal

Marnie Brady

Brendan P. O'Malley

Kathleen Dunn

Zoltan Gluck

Rachel Goffe

Harmony Goldberg

Amanda Huron

Malav Kanuga

Esteban Kelly

Manissa McCleave Maharawal

Justin Myers

Raymond Pettit

Miguelina Rodriguez

Mcnair Scott

Peter Waldman

Nicole Watson

About the Author/Editor

Neil Smith (Editor)
NEIL SMITH was Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the City University of New York and serves as director for the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics. He is author or editor of nine books that explore the broad intersection between space, nature, social theory, and history and is co-organizer of the International Critical Geography Group.

Don Mitchell (Editor)
DON MITCHELL is Distinguished Professor of Geography Emeritus at Syracuse University and professor of cultural geography at Uppsala University in Sweden. He is the author of several books, including They Saved the Crops: Labor, Landscape, and the Struggle over Industrial Farming in Bracero-Era California (Georgia). He was a MacArthur Fellow in 1998.