The Hardhat Riot Nixon, New York City, and the dawn of the white working-class revolution

David Paul Kuhn

Book - 2020

"In May 1970, four days after Kent State, construction workers chased students through downtown Manhattan, beating scores of protesters bloody. As hardhats clashed with hippies, it soon became clear that something larger was underway- Democrats were at war with themselves. In The Hardhat Riot, David Paul Kuhn tells the fateful story of when the white working class first turned against liberalism, when Richard Nixon seized the breach, and America was forever changed. It was unthinkable one g...eneration before: FDR's "forgotten man" siding with the party of Big Business and, ultimately, paving the way for presidencies from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump. This is the story of the schism that tore liberalism apart. In this riveting story- rooted in meticulous research, including thousands of pages of never-before-seen records- we go back to a harrowing day that explains the politics of today. We experience an emerging class conflict between two newly polarized Americas,m and how it all boiled over on one brutal day, when the Democratic Part's future was bludgeoned by its past."--

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Oxford University Press [2020]
Language
English
Physical Description
vi, 404 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [307]-379) and index.
ISBN
9780190064716
0190064714
Main Author
David Paul Kuhn (author)
  • Backdrop. "Out for blood"
  • The revolutionaries of Grand Central and Columbia
  • Chicago '68
  • Two moratorium days
  • "Law and order" and the decline of cities
  • The political fallout of "law and order"
  • Blue-collar whites are "rediscovered" (in middle American Gotham)
  • Those who did the fighting and dying
  • The new Left and the "great test for Liberals"
  • Building the Twin Towers, ethnic New York, and race
  • Cambodia and Kent State
  • Kent State shakes New York
  • "Bloody Friday." "U-S-A. all the way!"
  • Melee
  • "About time the silent majority made some noise"
  • Violence becomes "contagious"
  • "We've lost control!"
  • The riot spreads
  • "I'm not having City Hall taken over on my watch"
  • Full circle to Federal Hall
  • Afterward and Aftermath. The days after: Knicks Utopia, a fraught city, and Nixon at the brink
  • The riot reverberates
  • "Workers' Woodstock"
  • "Our people now": Nixon sees a future in an un-silent majority
  • Honor America Day
  • "Born with a potmetal spoon": Nixon launches the GOP's blue-collar strategy
  • How America(s) saw it
  • The end of the beginning.
Review by Publisher Summary 1

Describes a violent encounter between construction workers and Vietnam War protestors that occured on May 8, 1970, in New York City, discussing the rising tensions that led to the riot and its effects on the Democratic Party and the rise of Richard Nixon.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The nail-biting story of when the hardhats of downtown Manhattan beat scores of hippies bloody in May 1970, four days after Kent State, and how the nation reacted.In May 1970, four days after Kent State, construction workers chased students through downtown Manhattan, beating scores of protestors bloody. As hardhats clashed with hippies, it soon became clear that something larger was happening; Democrats were at war with themselves. In The Hardhat Riot, David Paul Kuhn tells the fateful story-how chaotic it was, when it began, when the white working class first turned against liberalism, when Richard Nixon seized the breach, and America was forever changed. It was unthinkable one generation before: FDR's "forgotten man" siding with the party of Big Business and, ultimately, paving the way for presidencies from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump.In the shadow of the half-built Twin Towers, on the same day the Knicks rallied against the odds and won their first championship, we relive the schism that tore liberalism apart. We experience the tumult of Nixon's America and John Lindsay's New York City, as festering division explodes into violence. Nixon's advisors realize that this tragic turn is their chance, that the Democratic coalition has collapsed and that "these, quite candidly, are our people now."In this nail-biting story, Kuhn delivers on meticulous research and reporting, drawing from thousands of pages of never-before-seen records. We go back to a harrowing day that explains the politics of today. We experience the battle between two tribes fighting different wars, soon to become different Americas, ultimately reliving a liberal war that maimed both sides. We come to see how it all was laid bare one brutal day, when the Democratic Party's future was bludgeoned by its past, as if it was a last gasp to say that we once mattered too.