Merges personal memoir and public history to tell a story of family loyalty, small-town life, and working-class values in the face of a violent labor strike in 1959, weaving memory, historical research, and interviews with participants on both sides of the strike into a narrative that is thoughtful and impassioned about the value of blue- collar work and the dignity of those who do it. Register is a freelance writer and teacher of creative writing. The opening chapter of this work was cited as a "Notable Essay" in Best American Essays 1996. Lacks a subject index. 5.5x8.5". Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
This is both a bittersweet memoir of growing up in the 1950s and a history of the 1959-60 strike at Wilson & Co. Meatpacking in Albert Lea, MN. Register (Living with Chronic Illness), the introspective daughter of a union meatpacker, blends lyrical memories of nighttime Christmas shopping with hard-edged descriptions of the killing floor and the picket line. The author attended school with friends who were the children of plant managers but was well aware of the stark divide between blue- and white-collar workers during the 109-day strike and after. Today's world is more complex than the "workers vs. the rich" view she held as a girl, but Register remains loyal to the idea that ordinary people matter. Toward the end of the book she writes, "Any life has meaning which knows its connection to the world." In this memoir, Register rediscovers the bonds that give her own life meaning. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.--Duncan Stewart, State Historical Society of Iowa Lib., Iowa City Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.