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 Blackwells Island. There, over the next hundred years, the city would send its insane, indigent, sick, and criminal. Told through the gripping voices of Blackwells inhabitants, as well as the periods city officials, reformers, and journalists (including the famous Nellie Bly), Stacy Horn has crafted a compelling and chilling narrative. Damnation Island recreates 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 Blackwells missionary Reverend French, champion of the forgotten, as he ministers 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 mans inhumanity to man. For history fans, and for anyone ...
|Title||:||Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, & Criminal in 19th-Century New York|
|Number of Pages||:||284 pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, & Criminal in 19th-Century New York Reviews
A chilling account of the infamous Blackwell’s Island. Set within viewing distance of glittering Manhattan, Blackwell Island was home to a lunatic asylum, two prisons, an almshouse, and a number of hospitals. Built in the 19th century and touted as the most humane and modern facilities, it quickly became a house of horrors for the unfortunates incarcerated there. Stacy Horn brings the long-dead voices of its inhabitants to life in tis investigative report.
It was very good, though a sad book. A little to political and a few points for my liking but over all a excellent book
I don't read a lot of nonfiction work; if I do, it's usually about horses or airplanes. Every once in a while a title comes across in the Book Pages magazine we get at the library that looks intriguing - such was the case with this particular book.
From the get-go, it's an interesting read, but it's also depressing. The book is divided into different sections that deal with the different types of groups situated on Blackwell's Island. The first section is about the "lunatic" asylum buildings and ...more
Though we all know how awful many if not most mental health facilities were, even into the 20th century, this book was a revelation.
In the 1800’s, Blackwell’s Island, now Roosevelt Island in New York’s East River, was home to a lunatic asylum, prisons, hospitals, poor houses and work houses. All built with the greatest of intentions, but all ending as abominations. From over-crowding, physical abuses, and utter disregard for sanitary practices, these buildings meant to protect, rehabilitate, ...more
To my surprise, this is the second of Horn's books that I finished reading. Didn't realize until later that she also authored The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad , another history/true crime book that I previously read.
Though the topics are different between the two books, I think The Restless Sleep is a more engaging read because Horn incorporates herself into the book by interviewing related parties, whereas Damnation Island edges towards a scholarly retelling told thro ...more
A quick read on the history of a piece of NYC that no longer serves its original purpose.
And an honest view of the impacts of good intentions that aren't matched by actions.
A good source of information if you are doing research about this place. Engaging? No, but I don't think it is supposed to be; it is just a recount of history. I personally didn't enjoy it because I am not interested in the subject, but I do recognize its information and historical value.
Horrifying. A sad reminder of how we treated the mentally ill, elderly, and poor. And really, how they are still treated.