The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911 resulted in the greatest loss of life in a New York City workplace until the 9/11 attacks nearly a century later. The victims were primarily young Jewish and Italian female immigrants, and the conditions they had worked under and the circumstances surrounding the disaster made it one of the most important events in workplace and labor history. In this ambitious work, the author seeks to place the tragedy in historical context, exploring the conditions that propelled the immigrants to leave Europe for America and what life was like for them once they arrived. Marrin uses colorful descriptive language to provide a sense of the cultural and political landscape and supplies detailed descriptions of the origins and workings of sweatshops. Despite the many changes that resulted from hearings and investigations into the fire, the author is able to demonstrate that sweatshop conditions linger in this country and in other parts of the world, even including other tragic fires. This is a competent, comprehensive social history that occasionally gets muddled because of the many strands of the story. (bibliography, source notes) (Nonfiction. 12 & up) Read full book review >
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