Damnation Island

Damnation Island

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

eBook - 2018
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The gripping voices of the inhabitants of Blackwell's Island make this history come alive. Today it is known as Roosevelt Island. In 1828, when New York City purchased this narrow, two-mile-long island in the East River, it was called Blackwell's Island. There, over the next hundred years, the city would build a lunatic asylum, prison, hospital, workhouse, and almshouse. Stacy Horn has crafted a compelling and chilling narrative told through the stories of the poor souls sent to Blackwell's, as well as the period's city officials, reformers, and journalists (including the famous Nellie Bly).Damnation Island re-creates what daily life was like on the island, what politics shaped it, and what constituted charity and therapy in the nineteenth century. Throughout the book, we return to the extraordinary Blackwell's missionary Reverend French, champion of the forgotten, as he minis- ters to these inmates, battles the bureaucratic mazes of the Corrections Department and a corrupt City Hall, testifies at salacious trials, and in his diary wonders about man's inhumanity to man. For history fans, and for anyone interested in the ways we care for the least fortunate among us, Damnation Island is an eye-opening look at a closed and secretive world. In a tale that is exceedingly relevant today, Horn shows us how far we've come-and how much work still remains.
Publisher: [United States] : Algonquin Books, 2018.
Branch Call Number: eBook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: hoopla digital


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May 06, 2019

A little known history of Blackwell's Island used as a place to put people who were poor, sick, mad, and criminal. Out of the way on an island in New York anything was done to the poor people who were sent there, even small children. Many died without help at all. If you think it's only history read this great book. Lots of research was done to write this book!

Sep 05, 2018

The harrowing recreated story of life on this 19th century island,plus others. She did an amazing job. I cannot get the inhumane scenes out of my head right now. It was a relief to see Rev. French in this story. He was a bright ray of hope, on this total island of pain and suffering. Hopefully, things will continue to progress in a better direction of treatment for people today. There always is room for improvements........always.

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