Description : During the nineteenth century child musicians could be seen performing in the streets of cities across Europe and North America. Although they came from a number of countries, Italians were most associated with street music. In The Little Slaves of the Harp John Zucchi tells the story of the thousands of Italian children who were indentured to padrone and then uprooted from their villages in central and southern Italy and taken to Paris, London, and New York to perform as barrel-organists, harpists, violinists, fifers, pipers, and animal exhibitors.
Description : Virtual slaves, children were uprooted from their villages in Italy and taken to Paris, London, and New York to perform as musicians and animal exhibitors. Zucchi reveals how these Italian children became a vital part of the family economy in times of severe economic fluctuation.
Description : The very letters of the two words seem, as they are written, to redden with the blood-stains of unavenged crime. There is Murder in every syllable, and Want, Misery and Pestilence take startling form and crowd upon the imagination as the pen traces the words." So wrote a reporter about Five Points, the most infamous neighborhood in nineteenth-century America, the place where "slumming" was invented. All but forgotten today, Five Points was once renowned the world over. Its handful of streets in lower Manhattan featured America's most wretched poverty, shared by Irish, Jewish, German, Italian, Chinese, and African Americans. It was the scene of more riots, scams, saloons, brothels, and drunkenness than any other neighborhood in the new world. Yet it was also a font of creative energy, crammed full of cheap theaters and dance halls, prizefighters and machine politicians, and meeting halls for the political clubs that would come to dominate not just the city but an entire era in American politics. From Jacob Riis to Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett to Charles Dickens, Five Points both horrified and inspired everyone who saw it. The story that Anbinder tells is the classic tale of America's immigrant past, as successive waves of new arrivals fought for survival in a land that was as exciting as it was dangerous, as riotous as it was culturally rich. Tyler Anbinder offers the first-ever history of this now forgotten neighborhood, drawing on a wealth of research among letters and diaries, newspapers and bank records, police reports and archaeological digs. Beginning with the Irish potato-famine influx in the 1840s, and ending with the rise of Chinatown in the early twentieth century, he weaves unforgettable individual stories into a tapestry of tenements, work crews, leisure pursuits both licit and otherwise, and riots and political brawls that never seemed to let up. Although the intimate stories that fill Anbinder's narrative are heart-wrenching, they are perhaps not so shocking as they first appear. Almost all of us trace our roots to once humble stock. Five Points is, in short, a microcosm of America.
Description : Using the perspectives of social and cultural history, and the history of psychology and physiology, Strange Dislocations traces a search for the self, for a past that is lost and gone, and the ways in which, over the last hundred years, the lost vision has come to assume the form of a child.
Description : Childhood is an extremely complex and highly contested concept. It refers to a life phase as well as to the age group defined as children, but is also a cultural construction, part of the social and economic structure of communities. The key scholarship collected, introduced, and reprinted in these volumes reflects this complexity and introduces the reader to the wide variety of interpretations that have been and continue to be placed on it. It might be suggested that the push or initiative in theorizing childhood has derived from advances within sociology and anthropology. However, the future provides potential for interdisciplinary study, which this collection also reflects. The contemporary study of childhood must comprise a conjoining of disciplines: sociology; anthropology; psychology; social geography; history; philosophy; and socio-legal theory, all have something to add to the field and are represented within the collection.
Description : On the eve of the Civil War, the Irish were one of America's largest ethnic groups, and approximately 150,000 fought for the Union. Analyzing letters and diaries written by soldiers and civilians; military, church, and diplomatic records; and community newspapers, Susannah Ural Bruce significantly expands the story of Irish-American Catholics in the Civil War, and reveals a complex picture of those who fought for the Union. While the population was diverse, many Irish Americans had dual loyalties to the U.S. and Ireland, which influenced their decisions to volunteer, fight, or end their military service. When the Union cause supported their interests in Ireland and America, large numbers of Irish Americans enlisted. However, as the war progressed, the Emancipation Proclamation, federal draft, and sharp rise in casualties caused Irish Americans to question—and sometimes abandon—the war effort because they viewed such changes as detrimental to their families and futures in America and Ireland. By recognizing these competing and often fluid loyalties, The Harp and the Eagle sheds new light on the relationship between Irish-American volunteers and the Union Army, and how the Irish made sense of both the Civil War and their loyalty to the United States.