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Algonquin Books

Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York

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Title: Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York
Author: Horn, Stacy
ISBN: 9781616209353
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Published: 2019
Binding: Quality
Language: English
Condition: New


History 1210890

Publisher Description:
"Enthralling; it is well worth the trip." --New York Journal of Books
Conceived as the most modern, humane incarceration facility the world had ever seen, New York's Blackwell's Island, site of a lunatic asylum, two prisons, an almshouse, and a number of hospitals, quickly became, in the words of a visiting Charles Dickens, "a lounging, listless madhouse." Digging through city records, newspaper articles, and archival reports, Stacy Horn tells a gripping narrative through the voices of the island's inhabitants. We also hear from the era's officials, reformers, and journalists, including the celebrated undercover reporter Nellie Bly. And we follow the extraordinary Reverend William Glenney French as he ministers to Blackwell's residents, battles the bureaucratic mazes of the Department of Correction and a corrupt City Hall, testifies at salacious trials, and in his diary wonders about man's inhumanity to his fellow man. Damnation Island shows how far we've come in caring for the least fortunate among us--and reminds us how much work still remains.