More Powerful Than Dynamite by Thai Jones

81%

12 Critic Reviews

... Jones draws parallels between 1914 and recent times in the social issues, moral dilemmas, and lack of political insight with intelligent research, fascinating characters, and striking tabloid color.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

In the year that saw the start of World War I, the United States was itself on the verge of revolution: industrial depression in the east, striking coal miners in Colorado, and increasingly tense relations with Mexico. "There was blood in the air that year," a witness later recalled, "there truly was."

In New York, the year had opened with bright expectations, but 1914 quickly tumbled into disillusionment and violence. For John Purroy Mitchel, the city's new "boy mayor," the trouble started in January, when a crushing winter caused homeless shelters to overflow. By April, anarchist throngs paraded past industrialists' mansions, and tens of thousands filled Union Square demanding "Bread or Revolution." Then, on July 4, 1914, a detonation destroyed a seven-story Harlem tenement. It was the largest explosion the city had ever known. Among the dead were three bombmakers; incited by anarchist Alexander Berkman, they had been preparing to dynamite the estate of John D. Rockefeller Jr., son of a plutocratic dynasty and widely vilified for a massacre of his company's striking workers in Colorado earlier that spring.

More Powerful Than Dynamite charts how anarchist anger, progressive idealism, and plutocratic paternalism converged in that July explosion. Its cast ranges from celebrated figures such as Emma Goldman, Upton Sinclair, and Andrew Carnegie to the fascinating and heretofore little known: Frank Tannenbaum, a homeless teenager who dared to lead his followers into the city's churches; police inspector Max Schmittberger, too honest for his department and too crooked for everyone else; and Becky Edelsohn, a young anarchist known for her red tights and for spitting in millionaires' faces. Historian and journalist Thai Jones creates a fascinating portrait of a city on the edge of chaos coming to terms with modernity.
 

About Thai Jones

See more books from this Author
Thai Jones is author of A Radical Line: From the Labor Movement to the Weather Underground, One Family's Century of Conscience. Formerly a reporter for Newsday, he is a graduate of Vassar College and the Columbia School of Journalism, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in U.S. History at Columbia University.
 
Published April 30, 2012 by Walker Books. 417 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for More Powerful Than Dynamite
All: 12 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Below average
Mar 01 2012

Jones provides deep research and nicely fleshed portraits but only partial synthesis of the information.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Sam Roberts on May 04 2012

...offers a vivid reminder that today’s domestic political turmoil, for all its vitriol, is pretty tame compared with that of a century ago.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Feb 13 2012

... Jones draws parallels between 1914 and recent times in the social issues, moral dilemmas, and lack of political insight with intelligent research, fascinating characters, and striking tabloid color.

Read Full Review of More Powerful Than Dynamite | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by Charles Homans on Jun 02 2012

More Powerful than Dynamite is remarkable for the degree of humanity the author grants his entire cast of characters, plutocrats and radicals alike.

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Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Rick Ayers on May 22 2012

Thai Jones peels back the layers with a delicious new history...

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Dallas News

Excellent
Reviewed by Alex Lemon on May 29 2012

Jones captures the actors and events with a deftness and polish rarely seen in historical nonfiction.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Susan Clark

....suffers from a lack of focus...

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The Daily Beast

Excellent
Reviewed by Kevin Canfield on May 17 2012

In his effort to capture the spirit of the times, Thai Jones seems to have read every column inch of newspapers published in New York City in 1914.

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History News Network

Excellent
Reviewed by Jim Cullen on Apr 24 2012

Dynamite showcases a rare talent notable for its equipoise in balancing heart and head.

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Occupy.com

Above average
Reviewed by Jonah Raskin on Apr 18 2012

It is timely, entertaining and uplifting, and it offers real heroes, too, such as Walter Lippmann, the phenomenal American journalist, reporter and artist of the daily newspaper...

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The Rag Blog

Good
Reviewed by Thorne Dreyer on May 02 2012

...a compellingly written tale of an incredibly interesting time.

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American History Now

Good
Reviewed by Jim Cullen on Apr 24 2012

Dynamite showcases a rare talent notable for its equipoise in balancing heart and head.

Read Full Review of More Powerful Than Dynamite

Reader Rating for More Powerful Than Dynamite
95%

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