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The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction

Revised. Sprache: Englisch.
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This recipient of the 1999 Bancroft Prize for American History presents the story of 40 Irish orphans who were transported from New York to Arizona in 1904 by nuns to be placed with Mexican Catholic families, and of the vigilante squad, furious at th … weiterlesen

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The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction als Taschenbuch


Titel: The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction
Autor/en: Linda Gordon

ISBN: 067400535X
EAN: 9780674005358
Sprache: Englisch.

April 2001 - kartoniert - 432 Seiten


This recipient of the 1999 Bancroft Prize for American History presents the story of 40 Irish orphans who were transported from New York to Arizona in 1904 by nuns to be placed with Mexican Catholic families, and of the vigilante squad, furious at the "interracial transgression", who kidnapped the children. 36 halftones.


* Preface
* Cast of Principal Characters
* October 2, 1904, Night, North Clifton, Arizona
* September 25, 1904: Grand Central Station, New York City
*1. King Copper

October 1, 1904, 6:30 p.m.: Clifton Railroad Station
*2. Mexicans Come to the Mines

October 1, 1904, around 7:30 p.m.: Sacred Heart Church, Clifton
*3. The Priest in the Mexican Camp

October 2, 1904, Afternoon: Morenci Square and Clifton Library Hall
*4. The Mexican Mothers and the Mexican Town

October 2, 1904, Evening: The Hills of Clifton
*5. The Anglo Mothers and the Company Town

October 2, 1904, Night: Clifton Hotel
*6. The Strike

October 3--4, 1904: Clifton Drugstore and Library Hall, Morenci Hotel
*7. Vigilantism

January 1905: Courtroom of the Arizona Territorial Supreme Court, Phoenix
*8. Family and Race
* Epilogue
* Notes
* Acknowledgments
* Index
* Maps

* Sonoran Highlands Mining Region in 1903

* Old Clifton and Morenci


Linda Gordon is Professor of History at New York University. She is the author of the now classic history of birth control in America, Woman's Body, Woman's Right, and of Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History of Family Violence, winner of the Joan Kelly Prize for the best book in women's history.


In her gripping book, The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction, Linda Gordon has written a model study of the creation and maintenance of race relations that manages to capture both the breathless sensationalism of the era's tabloids and the complexity of social status, shifting racial codes and the multiple uses of sex roles in social action...Gordon divides her story into six scenes, most of them devoted to some portion of the four days when the orphans' arrival engulfed Clifton-Morenci in a near riot followed by a mass kidnapping. Spliced between each scene is the history--long-term and proximate--of the towns' sociocultural landscape. It is an ingenious narrative device that enables her to reconstitute the distinct social structures of the area while rendering a taut journalistic account of the unfolding drama...The magnificence of her achievement [is] her masterly assembly of historical detail and acute sensitivity to the intricacies of human relations as mediated by power, prejudice and the passing of time. -- Stephen Lassonde New York Times Book Review If Gordon's book did nothing more than redeem from obscurity the story of the Arizona orphans, it would be an extraordinary contribution to social history. But Gordon has gone beyond that scanty written record, mainly from the court proceedings, to explore the motives of the Mexican and Anglo women...Gordon's achievement is that she so effectively and fair-mindedly delved into the site and unearthed this appalling and poignant story. -- Michael Kenney Boston Globe This is an unusual and interesting work of history, whose chief strength lies in the way it lovingly recreates the spirit of a particular Arizona community and, through its insistence on micro-historical detail, gives the reader a clear sense of how racial assumptions and antagonisms operated within everyday life. -- Paul Giles Times Literary Supplement A story of racism, vigilantism, and injustice that retains its grim fascination after nearly a century...The sordid but suspenseful story is told against a background that encompasses the mining industry, labor unions and even a waffling U.S. Supreme Court. Parade Magazine Gordon's extraordinary achievement in this book lies in her narrative strategy as much as in her insights as a social historian: she alternates dramatic short chapters detailing the events in the mining communities of Clifton-Morenci from the first to the fourth of October 1904 with longer, denser ones that reconstruct the conflation of class, gender, racial, religious, and economic interests that initiated the children's journey west from New York City and underlay their distribution by Father Mandin, the local priest. -- Gay Wachman Women's Review of Books Linda Gordon has used [the orphan abduction's] events to explore issues of race, gender, class, economics and theories of the family in a beautifully constructed narrative and analysis of a flashpoint in American domestic history...Gordon uses her multiplicity of sources with great skill, all the time reminding us that some participants in the story have left no record of their experiences, particularly the children's birth mothers, the children themselves, and the Mexican families with whom they were to be placed. She contextualises the event superbly, giving us a well-rounded portrait of Clifton-Morenci at the time, as well as taking us through the ideological and emotional processes which moved people to act as they did. -- Catriona Crowe Irish Times Historian Linda Gordon has unearthed a small, forgotten story, and told it exceptionally well...[The] astonishing story, less than a century old, contains much to ponder. Gordon does a masterful job probing class and race, gender and religion, family and border economics to shed light on conflicts unresolved to this day...She has crafted both an exhilarating yarn and a sober morality tale. -- Karen R. Long Plain Dealer [A] fascinating, almost cinematic book...Gordon has brilliantly retrieved history, in the process providing a vivid, complex addition to the growing scholarship on 'whiteness.' -- JoAnn Wypijewski Lingua Franca Book Review It is both fascinating and disturbing to delve into specific events of American history: Cultural biases explode, exploitation simmers, and religious identity is challenged. Linda Gordon's book confronts all these issues...Delving deeper and deeper into the American conscience, Gordon shatters layer upon layer of assumption. She has done her research, and the story she has written breathes life as a dragon breathes fire, burning sometimes accidentally, though oftentimes intentionally. As a challenge to preconceived notions of American history, as a reflection of cultural, religious and economic realities and as a how-to guide for retrieving important historical lessons, The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction is fascinating, repelling and completely engrossing. -- Ian Graham The Star-Ledger In 1904, a group of New York nuns delivered 40 mostly Irish but entirely Catholic orphans to a remote Arizona mining town to be adopted by local Catholics. What happened next is the subject of historian Linda Gordon's compelling new book: For their act of Christian charity, the nuns were rewarded with near-lynching and public vilification of an intensity hard to fathom today. As Gordon makes clear in writing so alive it makes the reader smell sagebrush and white supremacy, the Eastern nuns didn't realize that, in turn-of-the-century Arizona, Catholic also meant Mexican, and Mexican meant inferior. -- Debra Dickerson salon.com In this remarkable history of an obscure event, Gordon skillfully casts light on myriad important subjects...[She] has done an extraordinary amount of research and has completely contextualized the orphan abduction. One finds learned chapters on the history of the Southwest, the copper mining industry, vigilantism, Mexican women, labor relations, and Catholicism. Especially informative are Gordon's lengthy discussions of historical definitions of whiteness and how the orphan abduction was instrumental in destroying the fluidity of race relations. -- E. W. Carp Choice Economics, religion, and racial and sexual politics intersect in this account of the social upheaval caused when Mexicans in a small Arizona mining town in 1904 adopted 40 abandoned Irish Catholic children from New York. Gordon's compelling account of the incident traces the legal challenges by a Catholic charity group that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Booklist, an "Editor's Choice 1999" selection Gordon, drawing on interviews, newspapers, and the court transcript, recreates the kidnapping and the ensuing courtroom drama in intoxicating detail. Along the way, Gordon cracks open a number of hot issues, from labor relations to women's roles. At the center is her examination of the social construction of race; you won't find a more illuminating or nuanced discussion of the invention of whiteness than Gordon's...Gordon has written the rare history book that readers won't be able to put down. Kirkus Reviews Economics, religion, and racial and sexual politics intersect in this fascinating account of the social upheaval caused when Mexicans in a small Arizona mining town in 1904 adopted 40 abandoned Irish-Catholic children from New York. The children were brought West by Catholic nuns on the little-known orphan trains that transported children of poor families across the country for adoption. Gordon has rendered a well-researched analysis of the social and racial factors that aroused passions enough to send posses to 'rescue' the children and that nearly lead to the lynching of a priest. Gordon puts the incident in the context of turn-of-the-century industrialization and changing racial definitions that reclassified ethnic groups, such as the Irish as whites. Gordon uses news accounts and court transcripts to render a compelling account of the incident and the legal challenges by the Catholic charity group that went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court and ended in judgement in favor of the white vigilantes, reinforcing racial and religious attitudes of the time. -- Vanessa Bush Booklist These painstakingly researched chapters could well stand on their own as a powerful history of the miners' lives and a superior case study of emigrant labor at the turn of the century. -- Duncan Stewart Library Journal Written in the lush prose and plots of a Joseph Conrad novel, Linda Gordon's The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction is [an] extraordinary chronicle...More than an isolated case of frontier vigilantism, the affair swirled into the national headlines, fanning the flames of the caustic debate over religion and race...Peeling off the overlapping intrigues, issues, and players of the incident with the precision of a historical detective, Gordon, a leading social historian on issues of gender and family, goes far beyond the question of blatant racism in a racist epoch to examine the cultural and historical makeup that allowed the affair to happen in the first place...Her meticulously researched and reasoned chronicle is a masterwork of historical analysis that deserves to remain on bookshelves far into the future. -- Jeff Biggers Bloomsbury Review Gordon is genuinely curious and deeply thoughtful about the complex ways in which race, class and gender intersect to produce pivotal moments like this one. The book that she has written should be of interest not only to scholars of the American southwest, but to anyone curious about how ideologies make us what we are. -- Christina Thompson Times Higher Education Supplement [Gordon] uses the plight of the children...to introduce her readers to the racial, social and cultural situation in the Arizona minds and in the country in general. -- William R. Wineke Wisconsin State Journal 20001008 Gordon's account takes place in six scenes, with historical interludes between them. Her narrative voice is enticing, and her descriptions vivid...This book provides a gripping piece of a puzzled history, not only of American racism, but of the Catholic experience of it. -- Peggy Ellsberg Commonweal 20001201 Linda Gordon's The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction is a spellbinding narrative history--the kind of rigorous but engaging work that other academics dream of writing. Gordon here unearths a long forgotten story about abandoned Irish-Catholic children in turn-of-the-century New York who were sent out to Arizona to be adopted by good Catholic families. The hitch was that those families turned out to be dark-skinned Mexicans. What ensued was a custody battle that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The astonishing story Gordon has recovered considers vexed intellectual questions about race, class and gender in a dramatic, accessible fashion. -- Maureen Corrigan Newsday 20001231 Linda Gordon has written an astonishing book...This is not just a story about orphan children: it is a story of America at a time of transition, when the railroads were opening up the land and men went west from the cities of the eastern seaboard to seek their fortune. It details religious prejudice, but also compassion. -- Christina White Catholic Herald 20011012 Linda Gordon...has produced a brilliant foray into social history that explores issues of race, class, gender, law enforcement, and labor relations in the American Southwest at the dawn of the 20th century. -- Gregory J. W. Urwin Journal of the West 20040401 Gordon demonstrates the continuing vitality of the issues social historians have brought to the table - class, race, gender, family - in the context of a new commitment to a synthesizing narrative...Gordon's invocations of the many issues that have concerned social historians deeply enhances her examination of a particular time and place in this richly re-imagined history...Gordon has gone to such pains to guard the integrity of her historical subjects and to invest then with genuine depth and individuality. -- Paula S. Fass American Historical Review
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