Told here for the first time, the riveting story of the most remarkable strike in American history
On January 12, 1912, an army of textile workers stormed out of the mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, commencing what has since become known as the "Bread and Roses" strike. Based on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories, Watson reconstructs a Dickensian drama involving thousands of parading strikers from fifty-one nations, unforgettable acts of cruelty, and even a protracted murder trial that tested the boundaries of free speech. A rousing look at a seminal and overlooked chapter of the past, Bread and Roses is indispensable reading.
Well sourced, evenhanded and briskly paced, Watson's account of the dramatic textile mill strike in Lawrence, Mass., during the icy winter of 1912 presents a panoramic glimpse of a half-forgotten America, one in which violent agitation and swift repression were often the order of the day. The story of how a polyglot mass of immigrants hailing from Syria to Scotland cohered into a powerful bargaining force is riveting in itself, and Watson (The Man Who Changed How Boys and Toys Were Made) places that struggle within the larger currents of reform that were slowly reshaping America. The cast includes self-made mill owner William Wood, who simply couldn't understand how "his" workers could betray him; Joseph Ettor, the union organizer who slept in a different bed every night to avoid reprisals; fiery Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn of the IWW and muckracker Ida Tarbell. The bloody strike was repressed from public memory in the hyperpatriotic years of WWI, later idealized by the labor movement in ways that downplayed union violence. This book's subtitle, and its contents, suggest that the "American Dream" enjoyed by the nation's middle class had to be taken by force by the working class and is by no means a permanent entitlement. (Aug.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
July 24, 2006
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.