Enfilade

New Book | The Great New York Fire of 1776

Posted in books by Editor on January 27, 2023

From Yale UP:

Benjamin Carp, The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2023), 360 pages, ISBN: 978-0300246957, $30.

Who set the mysterious fire that burned down much of New York City shortly after the British took the city during the Revolutionary War?

New York City, the strategic center of the Revolutionary War, was the most important place in North America in 1776. That summer, an unruly rebel army under George Washington repeatedly threatened to burn the city rather than let the British take it. Shortly after the Crown’s forces took New York City, much of it mysteriously burned to the ground. This is the first book to fully explore the Great Fire of 1776 and why its origins remained a mystery even after the British investigated it in 1776 and 1783. Uncovering stories of espionage, terror, and radicalism, Benjamin L. Carp paints a vivid picture of the chaos, passions, and unresolved tragedies that define a historical moment we usually associate with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Benjamin L. Carp is professor of history at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America and Rebels Rising: Cities and the American Revolution. He lives in New York City.

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