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Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

From Publishers Weekly

It was a profitable business in a modern fireproof building heralded as a model of efficiency. Yet the in New York City became the deadliest workplace in American history when fire broke out on the premises on March 25, 1911. Within about 15 minutes the blaze killed 146 workers-most of them immigrant Jewish and Italian women in their teens and early 20s. Though most workers on the eighth and 10th floors escaped, those on the ninth floor were trapped behind a locked exit door. As the inferno spread, the trapped workers either burned to death inside the building or jumped to their deaths on the sidewalk below. Journalist Von Drehle (Lowest of the Dead: Inside Death Row and Deadlock: The Inside Story of America's Closest Election) recounts the disaster-the worst in New York City until September 11, 2001-in passionate detail. He explains the sociopolitical context in which the fire occurred and the subsequent successful push for industry reforms, but is at his best in his moment-by-moment account of the fire. He describes heaps of bodies on the sidewalk, rows of coffins at the where relatives identified charred bodies by jewelry or other items, and the scandalous manslaughter trial at which the Triangle owners were acquitted of all charges stemming from the deaths. Von Drehle's engrossing account, which emphasizes the humanity of the victims and the theme of social justice, brings one of the pivotal and most shocking episodes of to life. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Von Drehle's engrossing account . . . brings one of the pivotal and most shocking episodes of american labor history to life."
-- Publishers Weekly (Publisher's Weekly )
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Description

On a beautiful spring day, March 25, 1911, workers were preparing to leave the triangle shirtwaist factory in New York's Greenwich Village when a fire started. Within minutes it consumed the building's upper three stories. Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside. The final toll was 146—123 of them women. It was the worst disaster in New York City history until September 11, 2001. Harrowing yet compulsively readable, Triangle is both a chronicle of the fire and a vibrant portrait of an entire age. Waves of Jewish and Italian immigrants inundated New York in the early years of the century, filling its slums and supplying its garment factories with cheap, mostly female labor. Protesting their Dickensian work conditions, forty thousand women bravely participated in a massive shirtwaist workers' strike that brought together an unlikely coalition of socialists, socialites, and suffragettes. Von Drehle orchestrates these events into a drama rich in suspense and filled with memorable characters. Most powerfully, he puts a human face on the men and women who died, and shows how the fire dramatically transformed politics and gave rise to urban liberalism.

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