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Triangle: The Fire That Changed America Paperback – August 16, 2004
"Roots" by Alex Haley
Now in paperback, check out Roots which electrified the nation when it first published forty years ago. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Kathy Tewell, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Ironically, the Triangle factory made shirtwaists, which were the women's blouses of the time, and they were something of a sartorial liberation for women. It was a practical garment, with no hoops or corsets, and yet it was fashionable enough for the Gibson Girl. The book covers the lengthy strike at Triangle of 1909, but the strike was not about safety, just hours and pay. Von Drehle shows that there had already been factory buildings successfully protected from fire. Automatic sprinklers, firewalls, and fireproof doors and stairways were, from the 1880s, standard in some factories. The Triangle owners paid lots for insurance, and little for safety. The building itself was promoted as fireproof, and it proved essentially to be, but the contents were certainly not.Read more ›
Framed by the scorn and indifference toward laborers before the fire, and the realization of guilt that led to the rush to reform after it, the events of March 25, 1911 are heartbreakingly described by Mr. Von Drehle's vivid prose. But the description of the actual fire is only part of the book. He doesn't linger over the gruesome details to satisfy some cruel, voyeuristic hunger that some readers might have expected. There's just enough narrative to convey the chaos, terror and sadness of the event. To prevent the story from getting too morbid, the author diligently included the many individual acts of heroism by police, firemen, passersby and neighboring NYU students.
The main purpose of the book, as the subtitle explains, is to demonstrate how the Triangle catastrophe profoundly affected Tammany Hall, New York City and State government, the federal governemt, the labor union movement, socialists, and Democrats. The dedication of the reformers and labor leaders like Al Smith, Frances Perkins, Robert Wagner, Sr., Clara Lemlich, and so on, is also highlighted. The owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, receive the vilification they deserve. And somewhere in the moral gray area are the two most enigmatic figures: Tammany leader Charles Murphy and the attorney for Blanck and Harris, Max Steuer.Read more ›
In the first part of the book, Von Drehle examines the victims of the fire that broke out shortly before quitting time at the Triangle Shirtwaist (i.e., blouse) factory on Saturday, March 25, 1911. Who were they? Why did the come to America? Why did they take factory jobs instead of domestic jobs? Where did they live? What did they wear? What did they do in their spare time? Von Drehle brings these people and their neighborhoods to life.
Nor does he ignore, or spare, the management. Immigrants and textile workers themselves, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris had risen in the world and owned a series of factories, as they called these sweatshops. Von Drehle details the tactics they used to resistance to unions and break strikes. He describes some of their cost-saving practices (including cheating workers out of earned wages) and provides convincing evidence that they had a history of torching their own workshops at the end of the season to collect the insurance on unsold merchandise.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
did not like it at all--rarely do I fail to finish a book, but made an exception with this onePublished 2 hours ago by Jack. N.
Well written and very concise. Mr. Drehle has done a tremendous job of conveying the tragic loss in a very humane way.Published 5 days ago by G. Luisi
Really interesting, a descriptive picture of life in New York in the 1900's.Published 19 days ago by Karen Kilby
Read more like a text than a narrative. Lots of politics. Found my mind drifting often as I read. Socialists and hard core sociology fans will enjoy this read. Read morePublished 19 days ago by ElleAyess
An excellent accounting of this terrible tragedy. I'd read snippets about the Triangle fire before but never anything as in depth as this. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Jodi
Excellent story. The book, although used had some damage. Otherwise, readable.Published 25 days ago by chrissie
Not just the story of the Triangle fire, this book explains the labor history that led up to the fire.Published 26 days ago by Cynthia Engquistcindy
It was very sad to read but also a very informative read. It helps you to understand why we have so many fire codes in the workplace. It's too bad so many lives were lost.Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer