"The deepest, most richly textured, and most nuanced picture of Greenwich Village ever written. Far from engaging in historical nostalgia for an idyllic lost community, McFarland reveals how, even a century ago, the Village was already a place that gained its identity from the roiling ethnic, political, and class tensions on its streets.—Daniel Czitrom, coauthor of Out of Many: A History of the American People
""An excellent book, one that provides a full and fascinating account of this New York City neighborhood during the Progressive era. . . . The book successfully integrates the development of the Village’s ethnic and working-class communities with the institutional thrust of the elites and reformers. It makes for a complex history that gets well beyond the popular conception of Greenwich Village as little more than a hangout for bohemians and cultural radicals""—American Historical Review
""Creatively researched and beautifully crafted. . . . Reading McFarland’s accessible prose is like being in the company of an assured and articulate tour guide as at home in Washington Square salons as he is familiar with cardboard-box factories and settlement houses.""—New York History
""McFarland (history, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst; Mugwumps, Morals, and Politics) focuses on a period in which New York's Greenwich Village was a mixed-class, multiethnic urban neighborhood. At the end of the 19th century, where this book begins, Irish immigrants lived in the West Village. The owners of the saloons that dotted the streets became community leaders, and county societies, the Catholic Church, and the Tammany Hall organization fostered the community's cohesion. At the same time, an enclave called Little Africa made up one of the largest black communities in the city. Later, as African Americans departed to live uptown, Italians became the area's largest ethnic group. Meanwhile, by the turn of the last century, the area attracted colonies of college-educated youth seeking personal transformation and societal change. Influenced by Socialist ideals, they became settlement house activists and advocates for progressive reform. The relationships among the reformers, the working classes, and the elite Protestant society living north of Washington Square offer insights into American urban life. Included are the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and the movements for trade unions and women's rights. Written in clear, accessible prose, this book is a pleasure to read. Recommended to public and academic libraries.""—Library Journal
""The narrow focus of this 20 years (the history of Greenwich Village has generally been divided into seven phases, this one often less emphasized) gives more of an insight into what Greenwich Village became than you might imagine.""—Blue Ridge Business Journal
""(McFarland's) book is carefully researched, well-documented and interesting.""—Daily News of Bowling"