THE SECOND REBELLION by James McCague

THE SECOND REBELLION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1863, New York City was the turbulent setting for a draft riot that left some eighteen known dead, seventy missing, property damage in the millions. James McCague (Moguls and Iron Men, several novels) tells the story with despatch and some style, manages as well to communicate the character of the times--pre-Tammany police captains teaming up with Irish gangs such as the Dead Rabbits to run the poor districts, the great disparity between rich and poor. This was brought home by the draft, which permitted substitution for a three-hundred dollar fee. The riots began at the first drawing, continued for four bloody days, in which federal troops were at last brought in after the police had performed nobly. The rancor extended to Protestants, the rich, Negroes, Republicans. Whether riot or rebellion, whether Confederate instigated or simply Secessionist sympathizing, was never fully manifest, although one John Andrews, a Virginian inciter, was arrested. The elements of class and race animosity, even of draft resistance, reverberate in present concerns which the author does not pursue, other than to assert that ""it may be good to remember that the nation's troubles were not fatal then, and will not be today."" But the Third Rebellion seems very real, very near, and one wonders whether this book is entirely responsible.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1968
Publisher: Dial