Hot Time in the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt (Hardback)Edward P. Kohn (author)
Hardback 304 Pages / Published: 27/07/2010
- Not available
This is the untold story of the catastrophic heat-wave that brought Gilded Age New York to its knees - and kick-started the career of Theodore Roosevelt. The New York heat wave of August 1896 was the worst of the era, killing close to 1,500 people over ten days of suffocating, unrelenting misery. The city became a panorama of near-medieval squalor: hundreds of horses dropped dead in the streets and their carcasses rotted for days in the heat; overheated dogs were labeled 'mad' and a half dozen were gunned down every day; thousands of New Yorkers took to sleeping on the rooftops and every night people fell and rolled to their deaths; passers-by went abruptly mad and killed themselves and each other - for a week and a half the city was a living hell. Yet because of the nature of heat waves - killing slowly, with no physical manifestation, no property damage, and no single climactic event that marks them as a 'disaster' - the 1896 New York heat wave remains one of the most un-chronicled natural disasters in American history, even though it claimed more victims than the New York City draft riots or the Great Chicago Fire. Historian Edward P. Kohn, through archival research, has uncovered the scope and misery of this heat wave and reveals it in "Hot Time in the Old Town" for the first time. The heat wave coincided with the beginning of the 1896 presidential contest between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan. Fresh from his vaunted "Cross of Gold" speech, Bryan arrived in New York to accept the Democratic nomination at the height of the disaster. In the meantime, a young police commissioner named Theodore Roosevelt was scrambling to procure ice for the urban poor, hose down the streets, and somehow mitigate the disaster that was unfolding in old New York. The heat wave was ultimately responsible not only for smashing Bryan's hopes for higher office, but refashioning Roosevelt's understanding of his responsibility to the people-further forging the progressive politics that would define his outsize political career. Drawing together the events of the heat wave, the rise of Theodore Roosevelt, and the precipitous fall of the promising young orator William Jennings Bryan, "Hot Time in the Old Town" offers a vivid narrative of an urban disaster in America's gilded age.
Publisher: Basic Books (AZ)
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 27 mm
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