Synopses & Reviews
"... a sweeping, analytical synethsis of collective violence from the colonial experience to the present." --American Studies
"Gilje has written 'the book' on rioting throughout American history." --The Historian
"... a thorough, illuminating, and at times harrowing account of man's inhumanity to man." --William and Mary Quarterly
"... fulfills its title's promise as an encyclopedic study... an impressive accomplishment and required reading for anyone interested in America's contentious past." --Journal of the Early Republic
"Gilje has written a thought-provoking survey of the social context of American riots and popular disorders from the Colonial period to the late 20th century.... a must read for anyone interested in riots." --Choice
In this wide-ranging survey of rioting in America, Paul A. Gilje argues that we cannot fully comprehend the history of the United States without an understanding of the impact of rioting. Exploring the rationale of the American mob brings to light the grievances that motivate its behavior and the historical circumstances that drive the choices it makes. Gilje's unusual lens makes for an eye-opening view of the American people and their history.
"Anyone interested in understanding group conflict and violence in American society today ought to read Gilje's illuminating and penetrating analysis". -- Harvard Sitkoff, University of New Hampshire
From the Boston Massacre to the urban riots of the late twentieth century, rioting has been an integral part of American history. Popular disorder has forced acknowledgement of discontent, reshaped the economic order, changed the face of politics, and toppled once-powerful regimes.
In this wide-ranging survey of rioting in America, Paul A. Gilje argues that we cannot fully comprehend the history of the American people without an understanding of the impact of rioting. Riots are when people in the street make themselves heard, when the "inarticulate" become articulate. The history of rioting reveals how the ideas and beliefs of common Americans have shifted over time and how interactions between different groups in society have altered.
Basic to Gilje's approach is the assumption that mobs are rational, that they do not act merely on impulse. Exploring the rationale of the mob, he brings to light the grievances motivating its behavior, and the historical circumstances driving the choices it makes.
Though the specifics vary greatly from event to event and across time, Gilje detects some fascinating patterns. He proposes four phases of rioting in America, arguing that they reflect larger social and economic trends and developments. Gilje's unusual lens makes for an eye-opening view of the American people and their history.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -231) and index.
About the Author
Paul A. Gilje is Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma and author of The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City: 1763-1834.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Disorder and Order in Colonial America
Chapter 2: Rioting in the Revolution
Chapter 3: Democracy Unleashed
Chapter 4: The Tragedy of Race
Chapter 5: Brink of Anarchy
Chapter 6: Democracy Entrenched
Appendix: Counting Riots