Catalogue


The Bowery Boys : street corner radicals and the politics of rebellion /
Peter Adams.
imprint
Westport, Conn. : Praeger Publishers, 2005.
description
xxii, 168 p.
ISBN
0275985385 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Westport, Conn. : Praeger Publishers, 2005.
isbn
0275985385 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5370753
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-02-01:
Adams tells the story of charismatic Irish leader Mike Walsh, who led one faction of the Bowery Boys, the Spartan Association, which participated in the violent politics of New York City during the 1840s and 1850s. Walsh eventually secured a place on the Democratic Party's ticket and was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1846, 1847, and 1851, where he was a supporter of workers and an outspoken critic of the party's "hypocrisy." Walsh and the Bowery Boys protested the emerging capitalist order, opposing banks and the tariff, but were never a revolutionary threat to it; they supported slaveholders and hard money and hungered for land ownership. However, the author's emphasis on the Bowery Boys' political role in Jacksonian politics is unoriginal. Recent books, such as Tyler Anbinder's (Five Points, CH, Apr'02, 39-4762) and Amy Bridges's (A City in the Republic, CH, Apr'85), have made the same point and placed it within a broader and more complex historical context. Ultimately, this becomes a very confusing book, as Adams repeatedly describes events out of chronological order and gives a distorted picture of Jacksonian politics through the narrow framework of a single individual. ^BSumming Up: Not recommended. E. W. Carp Pacific Lutheran University
Reviews
Review Quotes
'œDid these leaders speak much to or for American workers? The evidence make clear only that they speak to historians in search of an American radical tradition.'' American Studies
"Forget the romantic picture of the Gangs of New York featured in the recent Hollywood movie. As Peter Adams ably demonstrates in this well-researched book, the Bowery Boys and others had been left behind by the market revolution that swept America in the 19th century, leading them to go embrace a radical political agenda."
"Forget the romantic picture of the Gangs of New York featured in the recent Hollywood movie. As Peter Adams ably demonstrates in this well-researched book, the Bowery Boys and others had been left behind by the market revolution that swept America in the 19th century, leading them to go embrace a radical political agenda." - Rick Shenkman author of Presidential Ambition
"Long before historians thought of studying history from below, Bowery leader Mike Walsh self-consciously named his newspaper the Subterranean. Adams' study of the political life of the Bowery Boys digs deeply into this underground and reveals the nature of Jacksonian Democracy's left wing."
"[A] good story ... we emerge at the end with greatly increased knowledge of the Democratic Party, the Whig Party, Tammany Hall and the social conditions of New York in the middle of the nineteenth century." - Journal of American Studies
"Long before historians thought of studying "history from below," Bowery leader Mike Walsh self-consciously named his newspaper the Subterranean. Adams' study of the political life of the Bowery Boys digs deeply into this underground and reveals the nature of Jacksonian Democracy's left wing." - Timothy Messer-Kruse, Associate Professor and Chair, History Department University of Toledo
"Did these leaders speak much to or for American workers? The evidence make clear only that they speak to historians in search of an American radical tradition."- American Studies
"Did these leaders speak much to or for American workers? The evidence make clear only that they speak to historians in search of an American radical tradition." - American Studies
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2006
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Summaries
Long Description
In the decades before the Civil War, the miserable living conditions of New York City's lower east side nurtured the gangs of New York. This book tells the story of the Bowery Boys, one gang that emerged as part urban legend and part street fighters for the city's legions of young workers. Poverty and despair led to a gang culture that was easily politicized, especially under the leadership of Mike Walsh who led a distinct faction of the Bowery Boys that engaged in the violent, almost anarchic, politics of the city during the 1840s and 1850s. Amid the toppled ballot boxes and battles for supremacy on the streets, many New Yorkers feared Walsh's gang was at the frontline of a European-style revolution. A radical and immensely popular voice in antebellum New York, Walsh spoke in the unvarnished language of class conflict. Admired by Walt Whitman and feared by Tammany Hall, Walsh was an original, wildly unstable character who directed his aptly named Spartan Band against the economic and political elite of New York City and New England. As a labor organizer, state legislator, and even U.S. Congressman, the leader of the Bowery Boys fought for shorter working hours, the right to strike, free land for settlers on the American frontier, against child labor, and to restore dignity to the city's growing number of industrial workers.
Table of Contents
The Bowery Boys: Shirtless and Unterrified
The Bowery Boys: Radical in Everything
On to Providence: B'hoys Workies, Loco Focos, and the Subterranean Masses
Go West Young Proletary
The Bowery Boy Goes to Washington Boss Rule and the Eclipse of the Bowery Boys
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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