CRYSTAL LEE: A Woman of Inheritance by Henry P. Leifermann

CRYSTAL LEE: A Woman of Inheritance

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A beautifully written study of a woman who helped achieve the successful unionization of a textile mill in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina--a company town where she, her parents, and her grandparents had spent most of their lives working in the last major non-unionized industry in America. Crystal Lee's world--she is in her early 30's--stretched from Roanoke Rapids to Burlington and back again the 150 miles to Roanoke Rapids--an infinitely small and boring world of mills and husbands and lovers who worked in them. There was a young first husband who died in an auto crash. Children (both legitimate and illegitimate) to take care of, affairs that began for little reason and ended just as casually, a mediocre second marriage. (Crystal's union organizing advanced both her social and personal goals, by providing a kind of consciousness-raising which in turn forced her to confront the apparent pointlessness of her life: it gave her courage, too, to rethink her life and persevere when she was fired from her job.) Yet ultimately the purpose of the book is unclear: Crystal Lee is neither extraordinary nor ordinary (she is too intelligent and attractive for the latter); her struggles were hard and praiseworthy but not unique nor is this the story of the birth of a feminist--for she is, if anything, quite the opposite; the author gives us the texture of a life, without the psychological dimension which would make it meaningful.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1975
Publisher: Macmillan