About the Book
New York City, the strategic center of the Revolutionary War, was the most important place in North America in 1776. That summer, an unruly rebel army under George Washington repeatedly threatened to burn the city rather than let the British take it. Shortly after the Crown’s forces took New York City, much of it mysteriously burned to the ground.
This is the first book to fully explore the Great Fire of 1776 and why its origins remained a mystery even after the British investigated it in 1776 and 1783. Uncovering stories of espionage, terror, and radicalism, Benjamin L. Carp paints a vivid picture of the chaos, passions, and unresolved tragedies that define a historical moment we usually associate with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
About the Author
Benjamin L. Carp is professor of history at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America (2010), which won the triennial Society of the Cincinnati Cox Book Prize in 2013; and Rebels Rising: Cities and the American Revolution (2007). With Richard D. Brown, he co-edited Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, 1760-1791: Documents and Essays, 3rd ed. (2014). He has written about nationalism, firefighters, Benjamin Franklin, and Quaker merchants in Charleston. He has also written for Colonial Williamsburg, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He previously taught at the University of Edinburgh and Tufts University. He was born and raised in New York State and each of his parents earned two CUNY degrees.