An exciting, fluidly written, levelheaded account of the shirtwaist strike against garment manufacturers in late 1909. Dash (The Triumph of Discovery, 1991, etc.) quickly involves readers in the outcome of fledgling Local 25's so-called ""general strike"" by first introducing the grim working environment of the time. Mostly young women and recent immigrants, the workers put in long hours for pennies in dangerous, often degrading, conditions. The vividly evoked setting joins a well-structured, novel-like plot that builds to the scene of 3,000 workers pushing into Cooper Union, where Clara Lemlich's impassioned, impromptu speech led to the vote to strike. Dash summons images of picket lines of thinly clad factory girls braving one of the coldest winters on record, violent assaults from the police and hired ""gorillas"" working with factory owners, the ""college girls"" who could stand up for strikers' rights without fear of economic repercussion, and the surprising alliance of society matrons. The high cost of the strike--never idealized, and bringing only partial gains--is amply demonstrated in this compelling history.