MUSCLE AND BLOOD: The Massive, Hidden Agony of Industrial Slaughter in America by Rachel Scott

MUSCLE AND BLOOD: The Massive, Hidden Agony of Industrial Slaughter in America

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A slow death is probably what you want to call it,"" said an Anaconda aluminum worker after describing his symptoms of emphysema and chlorine gas poisoning. Scott's survey of the epidemic persistence of 19th century horrors in industry ranges from beryllium disease to loss of life and limb in mines and refineries -- owing to industry pressure, accidents are vastly under-counted and employers often deny that diseases are job related. Armed with such ineffectual auxiliaries as the Industrial Health Foundation, and coddled by certain labor unions, the industrialists sit in their air-conditioned offices calculating that workmen's compensation (a pittance) is cheaper than investment in safety measures. One aspect Scott herself merely notes is the way the bonus system and the 1970's speedup make workers ignore safety insofar as safety slows them up. This three-year Ford Foundation funded study -- relying more on interviews than tabulations -- ably sketches the size and the pain of the slaughter but unlike Emma Rothschild in Paradise Lost (1973), for example, Scott does not press for the contextual grasp of technological and financial developments (or non-developments) which would locate the investigation in something more than abstract profiteering. This remains a valuable contribution and a highly moving one.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1974
Publisher: Dutton