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Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town by [Rudacille, Deborah]
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Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Length: 304 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The American mill town in Rudacille’s book is Dundalk, Maryland, developed as Bethlehem Steel’s company burg for its enormous Sparrows Point complex near Baltimore. In this account of town and factory, Rudacille spans the century-plus since construction of a steel mill began, in 1887. Delivering a rust-belt story in outline, the author in substance recounts the tough conditions of steel-mill work, bargaining between the company and the union, and the racial and ethnic sociology of the workforce. A daughter of a Bethlehem steelworker, Rudacille deploys her familiarity with the steelmaking life to the benefit of her narrative, peppering it with her own anecdotes as well as those of her interviewees. Now-retired workers recollect the 1950s as the acme of prosperity, when production and employment peaked, while to others, occupational hazards such as asbestos exposure, pollution of surrounding waters, and racial discrimination belie the golden-age memory of a strong union and high wages and benefits. Capturing workers’ experiences with a company emblematic of American steel’s decline, Rudacille’s work is a poignant contribution to American labor history. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

“[An] affecting portrait of a decaying loop on the Rust Belt . . . Rudacille has delivered a book that would do Studs Terkel proud, partaking of his oral-historical approach to the past at turns, imbued with his pro-labor spirit throughout. Required reading for activists and for those wondering where things went wrong for America’s working people.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“With a rare combination of personal empathy and clear-eyed reportage, Deborah Rudacille has gone to the heart of Dundalk, Maryland and emerged with a careful, cohesive case-study of the American dream abandoned. For a relatively brief period, the United States reached its apogee on the world stage by validating its workers and their basic aspirations. In tough and unforgiving places like Baltimore’s Bethlehem Sparrows Point complex, the world’s most vibrant middle-class—indeed, a consumer class beyond any prior reckoning—was forged to fuel the economy of a great power. But now, only rust. Roots of Steel is nothing less than a chronicle of a great society unmoored, and Rudacille, at the heart of this reflection, aptly quotes the prescience of union stalwart John L. Lewis: ‘The future of labor is the future of America.’ God help us.” 
—David Simon, creator of The Wire
 
“Deborah Rudacille’s latest book is a well-informed, engagingly written elegy to Baltimore steel as it’s gone to rust—by an excellent writer with every reason to take this story personally.” 
—Madison Smartt Bell, author of Devil’s Dream and All Souls’ Rising
 
“Deborah Rudacille’s dirty and beautiful history of Baltimore steel is also a history of America. The steel manufactured in these Baltimore plants helped to build American icons like the Golden Gate Bridge, Madison Square Garden, and the U.S. Supreme ...

Product details

  • File Size: 816 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (March 18, 2010)
  • Publication Date: March 23, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S0F76
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,333,424 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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