Children of the City: At Work and at Play

Children of the City: At Work and at Play


By (author) David Nasaw

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  • Publisher: Anchor Books
  • Format: Paperback | 268 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 202mm x 18mm | 281g
  • Publication date: 18 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0345802977
  • ISBN 13: 9780345802972
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 68 HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPSH

Product description

This classic title, which was the inspiration for the story behind the new musical" Newsies," paints a surprising and indelible portrait of the bitter hardships, amazing resourcefulness, and unadulterated joys experienced by immigrant children in American metropolises at the turn of the century. The turn of the century was a time of explosive growth for American cities, a time of nascent hopes and apparently limitless possibilities. In "Children of the City, " David Nasaw re-creates this period in our social history from the vantage point of the children who grew up then. Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, autobiographies, oral histories and unpublished--and until now unexamined--primary source materials from cities across the country, he provides us with a warm and eloquent portrait of these children, their families, their daily lives, their fears, and their dreams. Illustrated with 68 photographs from the period, many never before published, "Children of the City" offers a vibrant portrait of a time when our cities and our grandparents were young.

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Author information

David Nasaw is the author of five book and is the Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Professor of History of American History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His biography of Andrew Carnegie was a finalist for the Pulitizer Prize and his biography of William Randolph Hearst, "The Chief," won the Bancroft Prize and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. He has served as a historical consultant for several television documentaries. His work has appeared in "The New Yorker," "The Nation," "The New York Times Book Review," "The Wall Street Journal," and other periodicals. He resides in New York City.

Review quote

"A skillfully written, engrossing and memorable portrait of a unique moment in American life." --"Los Angeles Times ""Nasaw . . . has amassed a surprising amount of information about the lives of working-class city children from the turn of the century. . . . Most of Nasaw's best anecdotes come from show business biographies--George Burns, Phil Silvers and Milton Berle, for instance. . . . And, as any old fan of the Little Rascals or the Bowery Boys can attest, there is something irresistible about tales of kids holding their own, and better, in a big-city adult world." "--People Magazine ""Mining a rich lode of primary source material, from reformers' records to oral histories and autobiographies, Nasaw captures an exuberant generation of children with a unique place in history." "--Psychology Today " "Children of the City paints a vivid picture of child life in American city streets between 1900 and 1920. . . . [A]n exciting story." "--Natural History ""This rousing story of youngsters working and playing in American cities at the turn of the century is beautifully done. . . . In spirited prose spiced with nearly 70 contemporary photographs Nasaw transports the reader back. . . . [A]n exceptional book." "--The Plain Dealer ""The excellent photographs in the book compliment its greatest strengths--the description of the street traders, including the newsies, and the author's intelligent stress on the way in which children learn to carve out their turf for work and play. This was an original and imaginative subject for social history."" --Minneapolis Star & Tribune " "In this exceptionally readable, invariably fascinating book, David Nasaw examines how working-class children of America's cities labored and played. . . . He treats with sensitivity and even affection the culture of the children themselves, but always within the larger context of urban society and American culture generally. . . . Nasaw marvelously conveys a sens

Table of contents

Acknowledgements Preface 1.  The City They Called Home 2.  At Play in the City 3.  Child Labor and Laborers 4.  The Littlest Hustlers 5.  The Newsies 6.  Junkers, Scavengers, and Petty Theives 7.  The “Litter Mothers” 8.  All That Money Could Buy 9.  The Battle for Spending Money 10. The Children and the Child-Savers 11. Working Together 12. Unions and Strikes 13. End of an Era Epilogue Appendix:  A Note on Sources: The Newsboy Studies Abbreviations Notes Index