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A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948 Paperback – June 15, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0807847046 ISBN-10: 0807847046 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (June 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807847046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807847046
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,213,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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Represents essential reading for those who seek a deeper understanding of the American south s tortured course in the twentieth century."Business History"

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A significant addition to the new scholarship on southern working-class whites.--Journal of Southern History

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Schmerguls VINE VOICE on March 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
I wanted to read this book, which actually covers the subject from 1910 to 1948, rather than as the title listed here indicates (1920-1948) because I wanted to know more about the flamboyant and racist Coleman Blease who in the early part of this century was such a prominent figure in South Carolina's politics. This book does tell a lot about Blease and his connection with the mill workers of South Carolina, but I found even more interesting the account of the career of Olin D. Johnston. Those who only watched his career in the U.S. Senate, once he finally got there, on his third attempt, in 1945, may not (as I did not) realize the extraordinary positions he took while Governor from 1935 to 1939--he took over the highway department by force, defying a Supreme Court ruling--and that he ran in 1938 against Cotton Ed Smith on a platform of 100% support for FDR. The racist climate of South Carolina got to him, however, and not till he became more anti-Negro was he finally elected. The book also relates the fascinating account of Peter Richard Moody, a student at Wofford College, and the poem he wrote in 1936 which led the Legislature to order a mental examination of Moody, and the funny account of the result of the mental exam. The book traces the efforts and hopes of the disadvantaged millhands, and amply justifies the title of the work. Anyone interested in Southern politics should read this enlightening and well-researched book. The bibliography alone runs 30 pages, and I found the book unique in its subject. A minor note: a footnote on page 291 says poet Moody became a professor at the U.S. Military Academy, whereas it appears that actually he was at the Air Force Academy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cxhaha@mail.wm.edu on September 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Fabric of Defeat's title sounds like a downer, but this is an wonderful book that is fun to read. Simon does a particularly good job of talking about race in an industry that was "lily white," as the saying goes. He manages to discuss racist white workers without either apologizing for them or indicting them. Rather he gives texture to their racial ideas, explaining how views of race and class changed in relation to each other as the New Deal broadened the political vision of South Carolina's millworkers. This is a book I would certainly assign to undergraduates.
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More About the Author


Bryant Simon is professor of history and the Director of American Studies at Temple University. He is the author of Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America. His most recent book, Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks, looks at what our latte choices tell us about our daily desires and dreams. This research took him to more than 450 Starbucks in 10 countries.

He blogs at www.everythingbutthecoffee.net

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A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948
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