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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 sometimes even led to elaborate brawls.
While this culture was fully respected in the early nineteenth century, changing social norms eventually demonized the firemen's vision of masculinity. Greenberg assesses the legitimacy of accusations of violence and political corruption against the firemen in each city, and places the municipalization of firefighting in the context of urban social change, new ideals of citizenship, the rapid spread of fire insurance, and new firefighting technologies.
Originally published in 1998.
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About the Author: Amy S. Greenberg is Assistant Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University.
Title: Cause for Alarm
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 1998
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1998. Book Condition: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP16200385
Book Description Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good+. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. B&W Illustrations; Large 8vo 9" - 10" tall; 232 pages; Square sound copy in original pictorial dust jacket. Prior owner's margin notes, brackets and sporadic underlining in a section of the text pages 65-95. Balance of text unmarked. Ink ownership stamp of a Historic Preservation Trust to the blank area of a pair of pages mid-book. Dust jacket bright and clean. G+/VG+. Bookseller Inventory # 31434
Book Description Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1998. Hard Cover. Cloth. As new copy in as new dustjacket. x, 233 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 001907
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Like New. Hardcover and dust jacket. Good binding and cover. Light wear. Clean, unmarked pages. Ships daily. Bookseller Inventory # 1711060031
Book Description Princeton University Press 1998-07-01, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: good. 0691016488. Bookseller Inventory # 598762
Book Description Princeton University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. 0691016488 Like New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # LN7.1982168
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Great condition with minimal wear, aging, or shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # P020691016488
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Like New. Almost new condition. Bookseller Inventory # P010691016488
Book Description Princeton University Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110691016488
Book Description Princeton University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0691016488 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1982168