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Cause for Alarm
Author: Amy S. Greenberg

ISBN: 9780691603438
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 244
Published: 16 June 1998
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.3
Description:


Though central to the social, political, and cultural life of the nineteenth-century city, the urban volunteer fire department has nevertheless been largely ignored by historians. Redressing this neglect, Amy Greenberg reveals the meaning of this central institution by comparing the fire departments of Baltimore, St. Louis, and San Francisco from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Volunteer fire companies protected highly flammable cities from fire and provided many men with friendship, brotherhood, and a way to prove their civic virtue. While other scholars have claimed that fire companies were primarily working class, Greenberg shows that they were actually mixed social groups: merchants and working men, immigrants and native-born--all found a common identity as firemen. Cause for Alarm presents a new vision of urban culture, one defined not by class but by gender. Volunteer firefighting united men in a shared masculine celebration of strength and bravery, skill and appearance. In an otherwise alienating environment, fire companies provided men from all walks of life with status, community, and an outlet for competition, which somet...

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