Book Review: Bread And Roses: Mills, Migrants, And The Struggle For The American Dream

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Book Review: BREAD AND ROSES: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream


The 1912 Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile hit is a work history landmark. Aided by Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizers, participants in the "bread and roses" strike drew on community resources to mobilize a creative, militant struggle that won those improved wages and working conditions.

The hit apprehended nationwide vigilance with huge parades, mass picketing, and the evacuation of strikers' children. Journalists and strike supporters sharp to rough living situation, women's militancy, the strikers' multiethnic cooperation, and the authorities' heavy-handed repression. Sympathetic to the strikers' accusations about their living and working conditions but painful with their militancy and ambivalent in the direction of the IWW, Watson best features the strikers' conclusion and sacrifices and offers colorful accounts of events like a dynamite contrive by strike foes and the children's exodus.


During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the joined States skilled significant work unrest. Workers attempted to organize into unions, management resisted the workers' efforts to unionize. Workers often went on strike for shorter work days, better working conditions, and better pay. Industry leaders, often with government assistance, tried to break the strikes and destroy the unions. Many of the clashes turned violent. The Haymarket Riot, Homestead Strike against Carnegie Steel and the Pullman Strike were some of the most violent labor disputes. In 1912, the women textile employees went on strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. This strike was different than most of the labor disputes of the era.

At the beginning of this century, Lawrence, Massachusetts was the textile center of America with 12 mills employing more than 32,000 workers. The three largest mills were owned by the J. P. Morgan-controlled American Woolen Company, the largest textile corporation in the nation. In 1905, this company netted profits of $212,690,048, but less ...
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