Review by Choice Review
Spann (emer., Indiana State Univ.; The New Metropolis: New York City, 1840-1857, CH, Jan'82) surveys the experience of New York City (NYC) during the US Civil War. He begins by examining the city's mayor (southern sympathizer Fernando Wood), volunteer forces, and economic contributions to the Union's war effort. Later chapters coherently analyze race, ethnicity, immigration, labor, and manufacturing. However, in so doing, the author makes a number of overgeneralizations. For instance, during a discussion of volunteer soldiers, Spann asserts that "slaveholding society tended to breed soldiers," while "the metropolis bred a diverse mix of personalities oriented toward peaceful pursuits." Moreover, Spann provides citations for most of the direct quotes, but rarely cites other information. If the work is intended for undergraduate students studying NYC or the US Civil War, then historians should be aware of this aspect of the book. Otherwise, this is an extremely readable overview of NYC's contributions to and experiences during the US Civil War. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General and undergraduate collections. T. D. Beal SUNY College at Oneonta
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