The Legacy of War in New York

Others, much less so.

Mr. Fitzpatrick writes about a memorial in Grand Central Terminal that is dedicated to subway workers lost in the war; a salute to Flanders Fields in Hell’s Kitchen (a statue of a soldier holding poppies in his outstretched hand); York Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, named not for the Duke of York but for Sgt. Alvin C. York, who in a single battle killed at least 25 Germans and captured 132 prisoners; and the Knickerbocker Hotel, where the opera singer Enrico Caruso, in a premature celebration of the armistice, appeared on a terrace and burst into “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

There is also an 81-foot-tall obelisk in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, said to be the city’s tallest, honoring sailors who helped blockade German warships off Dover, England; and a bust of Mayor John Purroy Mitchel. (After Mitchel’s support for the allies cost him re-election, he joined the Army Aviation Corps and was killed on a training flight while flying upside down in an open cockpit without a seatbelt.)

Robert P. Watson resurrects an earlier war in “The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: An Untold Story of the American Revolution.”

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Robert P. Watson’s new book focuses on the H.M.S. Jersey, a former British warship, which was transformed into a notorious floating prison.

Other authors have chronicled the horrific conditions American captives were subjected to (Edwin G. Burrows in his “Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War” and Barnet Schecter in “The Battle for New York”), but it’s a tale worth retelling.

Dr. Watson, a professor of American studies at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., focuses on the H.M.S. Jersey, a former British warship, which was built to carry 400 sailors, and which was transformed into a notorious floating prison. As many as 1,200 captives at a time were crammed into the rudderless…

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