Triangle: The Fire That Changed America
3 journalers for this copy...
From the cover -
On March 25, 1911, as workers were getting ready to leave for the day, a fire broke out in the Triangle shirtwaist factory in New York's Greenwich Village. Within minutes it spread to consume the building's upper three stories. Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside: their ladders simply weren't tall enough. People on the street watched in horror as desperate workers jumped to their deaths. The final toll was 146 people - 123 of them women. It was the worst workplace disaster in New York City history.
This harrowing yet compulsively readable book is both a chronicle of the Triangle shirtwaist fire and a vibrant portrait of an entire age. It follows the waves of Jewish and Italian immigration that inundated New York in the early years of the century, filling its slums and supplying its garment factories with cheap, mostly female labor. It portrays the Dickensian work conditions that led to a massive waist-worker's strike in which an unlikely coalition of socialists, socialites, and suffragettes took on bosses, police, and magistrates. Von Drehle shows how popular revulsion at the Triangle catastrophe led to an unprecedented alliance between idealistic labor reformers and the supremely pragmatic politicians of the Tammany machine.
David von Drehle orchestrates these events into a drama rich in suspense and filled with memorable characters: the tight-fisted "shirtwaist kings" Max Blanck and Isaac Harris; Charles F. Murphy, the shrewd kingmaker of Tammany Hall; blue-blooded activists like Anne Morgan, daughter of J. P. Morgan; and reformers Frances Perkins and Al Smith. Most powerfully, he puts a human face on the men and women who died on March 25. Triangle is an immensely moving account of the hardships of New York City life in the early part of the twentieth century, and how this event transformed politics and gave rise to urban liberalism.
This will soon be in the mail, on its way to a tropical paradise.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
I've been trying to remember which book I first encountered this fire in many years ago...I thought it was something fictional involving time travel, but that might have been Jack Finney's Time and Again, which featured a different fire.
Here's another copy on my BookCrossing shelf.
Took this book along with me on my trip to the East Coast hoping to finish it and leave it in NYC.
A fascinating look at the circumstances that led up to the event, what happened during the (surprisingly short) time of the actual fire, and the aftermath. This was one of the worst workplace disasters ever until 9/11/2001 (in other words, for 90 years) and it's very sad to think of all the untold stories of the garment workers who perished. On the other hand, the fire was the catalyst for a lot of workplace safety and labor reform, so at least *something* good came out of it. Here's a good resource for more info about the fire: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire.
Finished on the train headed back into the city and taken to the NYC BookCrosser's meetup group. It was great to meet a bunch of other BC'ers - thanks for welcoming me!
Journaled before I could officially release it, but released for GoryDetails's 2012 Chills & Spills Challenge anyway.