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 interested in the ways we care for the least fortunate among us, Damnation Island is an eye-opening look at a closed and secretive world. With a tale that is exceedingly relevant today, Horn shows us how far weve comeand how much work still remains....
|Title||:||Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, & Criminal in 19th-Century New York|
|Number of Pages||:||284 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Damnation » Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, & Criminal in 19th-Century New York|
Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, & Criminal in 19th-Century New York Reviews
This book is a well written and well researched on the horrors of the past. It is not light bedside reading, it is a great read for anybody interested in learning about the history of Roosevelt Island at this time.
Book received from NetGalley.
Review to come.
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
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.
Blackwell Island within sight of Manhattan was the dumping ground for New York's poor, diseased, mentally ill and criminals. It was a place where many traveled to and few came back unscathed and housed men, women and children. Over the near century it existed it was a place of abuse, cruelty, torture and unbelievable neglect. Not all the people working there were bad but the majority of them did very little to really help anyone there. The one person who fought for the inhabitants of the island ...more
Horrifying. How did we go from locking up everyone who is mentally ill to just letting them roam the streets homeless. A shocking reflection on how the mentally ill have been and ARE treated.
Interesting, sad look into the sad residents of early NY incarceration (criminal and "insane") facilities.
Horrifying. A sad reminder of how we treated the mentally ill, elderly, and poor. And really, how they are still treated.