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Taking the Hard Road: Life Course in French and German Workers' Autobiographies in the Era of Industrialization Library Binding

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 278 pages
  • Publisher: University of North Carolina Press (May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080782187X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807821879
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,399,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A key text for research on the French and German proletarian autobiography from the late eighteenth to . . . early twentieth century.

German Notes and Reviews

Provocative and important. Maynes adds a new and timely dimension to working-class historiography.

Journal of Social History

This book contributes in original ways to working-class and gender history.

American Historical Review

Taking the Hard Road opens up a comparative dimension that proves richly rewarding.

Mark Traugott, University of California, Santa Cruz --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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By P.K. Ryan on April 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The experiences of working class men and women are a crucial part of the historiography of the Industrial Age. Industrialization brought rapid change to the continent of Europe, and forever altered both the way that people lived, and the way in which they viewed themselves. To explain this, author Mary Jo Maynes has collected and analyzed dozens of memoirs and autobiographies of French and German workers spanning from the 18th to the early 20th century. As Maynes describes, the autobiography was a relatively new concept at this time, brought about by the Enlightenment principles which emphasized individual personalities. The accounts are widely varied, but there are certain recurring themes which persist throughout. Such hardships as child labor, parental death or abandonment, and social alienation were common to most accounts. Harsh discipline, both at home and at school also left its mark on many of the authors. Of course, this is not to mention the excruciating work regimen that most workers had to endure. Many of the accounts were written by socialist militants (or those would later become such) and reflect a justification for their adoption of these radical views. "Their accounts simultaneously recorded and contributed to the construction of class identities." Maynes analyzes the differences in experience not only between French and Germans, but also between men and women, both often being significant. All in all, this is a very informative work which gives great insight into the lives of the working class of the Industrial Age.
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