On September 9, 1919, an American nightmare came true. The entire Boston police force deserted their posts, leaving the city virtually defenseless. Women were raped on street corners, stores were looted, and pedestrians were beaten and robbed while crowds not only looked on but cheered. The police strike and the mayhem that followed made an inconspicuous governor, Calvin Coolidge, known throughout America, turning him into a national hero and, eventually, a president. It also created a monster: for two days, more than 700,000 residents of Boston's urban core were without police protection, and the mob ruled the streets.