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St. Clair: A Nineteenth-Century Coal Town's Experience With a Disaster-Prone Industry 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801499005
ISBN-10: 0801499003
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wallace, a Bancroft-winning anthropologist for Rockdale, examines the complex forces that shaped and ultimately destroyed a Pennsylvania mining town. An early manifestation of the U.S. industrial revolution, St. Clair was a small, noisy immigrant community dedicated in the years covered here (18351880) to providing hard coal for a fuel-hungry nation. Against the larger background of the industry's economics and technologies, Wallace focuses on the illusions that allowed mine owners and operators to persist in a high-risk, low-profit trade whose main guarantee was death and injury for miners. Boosterish owners, he finds, ensured their own failure by refusing to take safety precautions to avoid disasters or to listen to geologists' advice on the inaccessibility of coal, choosing instead to blame difficulties on union activity and violence among miners. This is first-rate work that brims with insights into a town and an era. Photos. History Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

St. Clair is a fascinating, imaginative, and complete reconstruction of a Pennsylvania mining community. Using the tools of anthropology and history, Wallace mines the rich records of a small population and re-creates the landscape, geology, and people. He examines the motivations of the developers, the ethnic conflicts among workers, the unions, and how all these elements contributed to the town's short (about 40 years), unhappy history. Then, drawing on contemporary decision-making and risk-taking theory, he extrapolates six indicators of a disaster-prone organization. He also draws an analogy between the 19th-century coal industry and the nuclear power industry. An excellent industrial history with a vivid human component, this also sheds light on an urgent current issue. History Book Club alternate.. Mary Drake McFeely, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 519 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801499003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801499005
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,484,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had been searching for a copy of this book for years. My father owned a copy and, when he died, my stepmother gave it away without even offering it to me. There are two places in this book where my ancestors are mentioned, including a detailed description of the murder of my great-great-uncle by the Molly Maguires. This is a piece of difficult-to-acquire family history. The book is an accurately written history of the town and nearby communities,its people and culture that is the history of anthracite in America.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is lucid, engaging and compriehensive, covering the spectrum between personal and statistical information interleaved with philosophical perspective. I couldn't recommend it more highly!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seriously an awesome, invigorating read of the pertinent history of St Clair and the surrounding communities which influenced so much of what was Anthracite Mining in the 19th and 20th century., The book is historical in nature, but is anything but a dry read. The authors go deep into the people and customs, backgrounds and peculiarities of ethnic groups, civic organizations, and religions present in the area of St Clair. I was so fascinated, I actually took a trip to St Clair after I read the book.
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