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Triangle: The Fire That Changed America af…
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Triangle: The Fire That Changed America (original 2003; udgave 2004)

af David von Drehle (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,2063415,981 (3.9)118
Describes the 1911 fire that destroyed the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York's Greenwich Village, the deaths of 146 workers in the fire, and the implications of the catastrophe for twentieth-century politics and labor relations.
Medlem:margehaines
Titel:Triangle: The Fire That Changed America
Forfattere:David von Drehle (Forfatter)
Info:Grove Press (2004), Edition: Illustrated, 352 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Work Information

Triangle: The Fire that Changed America af David Von Drehle (2003)

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Viser 1-5 af 33 (næste | vis alle)
Excellent in research and writing

This book, while using the Triangle shirtwaist fire as an example, is mostly about power. The author demonstrates the macro power of money, government, life, and death to allow the reader to appreciate the key players' motives, how they resulted in the tragedy and what changes resulted from the fire and its aftermath.

The powerful owners of the late Gilded Age are easily recognized despite more than one hundred years elapsed between them. Nor have these industrialists changed their behavior toward those whose toil butters their bread. Instead, the resulting moguls of the information age are allowed to grow increasingly powerful and even less answerable for their crimes than those gilded forefathers.

In 1911, shirtwaist workers were stripped of their dignity by locked doors and a twisted need to control their employees' lives. The prosecution revealed in his investigation that the owners paid investigators and muscle men hundreds of dollars to recover losses of less than $25. The result was to blame workers for making the excessive expenditure necessary.

The same kind of behavior, refusing breaks and crushing unions, happens all the time even today. Amazon refuses to provide for its workers' health and safety despite the fact that those worker's dedication earned billions of dollars for their bosses during the pandemic.

The author demonstrates the necessary data collection that bolsters the Labor Department's regulations and led to the New Deal Era and reminds us what our representatives have failed to protect.

The abuse of workers reduces the future ability for the US to earn money. Millions are driven onto disability because we fail to protect our greatest asset. Other countries realize that their workforce is their future. They force owners to treat their workers well. But in the US, we hand over the most precious part of the economy to anyone regardless of their history of abuse.

The fact that the owners of the shirtwaist factory made millions more from insurance than the factory was worth was barely noticed and quickly forgotten by the business community. These two wealthy men, tricked out in diamonds, locked others into their workplaces even AFTER the Triangle fire. Those men should never have been allowed to hire a cab again, much less another factory.

The author's meticulous research showed the long view of the tragedy. By following the careers defined by that tragedy, he shows that change resulted from the cooperation of unions, government and the labor researchers who gathered and analyzed the data to verify the new laws actually helped protect this country's investment in workers.

Once the government began to protect workers and enforced their rights to unionize. The US entered the longest period of growth ever seen in the world.

The fire, while tragic, wasn't particularly horrifying as commercial accidents go even today. The importance of that fire and its tragic loss of life is key because it began a period in which the government, armed with data, and workers armed with unions, finally gained power over the owners armed with money. They recognized that no fortune is made without employees and the better educated and healthier that workforce is, the more successful the entire country is. Then they wrote and enacted laws to defend workers from predation.

Our workforce is the greatest asset of the United States and the reforms made to protect workers raised our economy to heights that made owners so powerful that they can flout laws made to protect their workers.

After reading this book no one should be too surprised that the people who hoped and acted to end our country were company owners indistinguishable from the two men who locked the doors on the women at the Triangle factory. Even after nearly losing their own lives in the fire, their factory doors remained locked.

Indistinguishable.
( )
  Smsw | Oct 9, 2022 |
At closing time on Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire started at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of the Asch Building in New York's Greenwich Village. 146 people - mostly young women and girls - died as result of the fire, many of them jumping to their deaths because locked doorways prevented their exit. The fire proved pivotal in leading to legislation for factory safety and the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), a union that lives on today in UNITE HERE.

Von Drehle provides a thorough but concise history of the fire, with all the grim details, and the ensuing trial which failed to find the company owners guilty of manslaughter. There's also a lot of background before the fire. This includes the history of the factory owners, themselves immigrant strivers who rose to wealth and prominence. The stories of many of the garment workers are also included, most of them immigrants from Eastern Europe and Italy, who had survived pogroms in Poland and volcanic eruptions in Italy before seemingly finding stability in New York. A massive strike lead by the ILGWU in 1909 is also covered in some detail.

If there's any flaw in this book it is that it doesn't quite live up to it's subtitle "The Fire That Changed America." For the aftereffects of the fire, Von Drehle emphasizes the rise of progressive Tammany Hall politicians Alfred E. Smith and Robert F. Wagner, and how they brought about an urban liberalism that lead to the New Deal. I wouldn't say this is a stretch but I think it's a more high-level approach to history than it would be to detail what women and immigrant communities did in response to the fire. Nevertheless, I did find the book to be very interesting and informative. ( )
  Othemts | Apr 29, 2022 |
A look at the fire at the Triangle Waist Shirt factory the lives lost and the aftermath of the disaster. Many questions remain unanswered and in most case those questions will never be answered. Prior to 9/11 this was the worst loss of life in a building fire and some of the issues that happened during this fire would occur again during the 9/11 tragedy. Fireman unable to reach those on the higher floors, those unable to escape jumping rather burning, panic and confusion. ( )
  foof2you | May 24, 2021 |
Too dense. only got about 10% through ( )
  cjordan916 | Apr 15, 2021 |
In 1911, a fire at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City killed 146 people, mostly young immigrant women who were unable to escape the 8th and 9th floors. Some of them jumped from the factory's windows; some jumped down the elevator shaft; some burned a few feet from a door that was likely locked. I'd heard about this disaster and how it led to major labor reforms in the United States, but I knew little of the specifics. Von Drehle has written a solid history, which covers a major strike at the factory in 1909, conditions under which so many Eastern European immigrants came to the US, reform efforts before and after the fire, and the influence of the fire on American politics through the New Deal. Parts of the book are a bit dry, but the background stories of some of the major figures involved and of the victims is interesting, and the description of the fire itself is harrowing.

4 stars ( )
  katiekrug | Jan 26, 2021 |
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Woods, Charles RueOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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The "Triangle" company...With blood this name will be written in the history of the American workers' movement, and with feeling will this history recall the names of the strikers of this shop - of the crusaders.
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January 10,1910
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Describes the 1911 fire that destroyed the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York's Greenwich Village, the deaths of 146 workers in the fire, and the implications of the catastrophe for twentieth-century politics and labor relations.

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