In the 19th century, New York City’s poor, insane, sick and punishable were thrown together and warehoused on the same narrow, two-mile-long island in the East River. It didn’t go well. I spent a few years researching just what went on in the insane asylum, prisons and hospitals there, but it was quite a challenge. Most of the records were destroyed. I lucked out here and there however, like coming across diaries from former wardens, and prison records thought to be lost. My new book Damnation Island reads like a horror story, but it’s all true.Read more Read less
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