Told here for the first time, the riveting story of the most remarkable strike in American history
On January 12, 1912, an army of textile workers stormed out of the mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, commencing what has since become known as the “Bread and Roses” strike. Based on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories, Watson reconstructs a Dickensian drama involving thousands of parading strikers from fifty-one nations, unforgettable acts of cruelty, and even a protracted murder trial that tested the boundaries of free speech. A rousing look at a seminal and overlooked chapter of the past, Bread and Roses is indispensable reading.
In place of romance, Watson offers a fast-paced, well-researched narrative. He finds room for sketches of the central players, like Angelo Rocco, an Italian former weaver who invited the Industrial Workers of the World, in the person of the organizer Joe Ettor, to Lawrence, as well as of the radical orators Haywood and Flynn and the millowner William Wood. He provides information about textile manufacturing and immigration in New England. He relies heavily on contemporary accounts, including those from the immigrant press, and he carefully sorts through rumors. Bread and Roses is packed with facts, but Watson, a journalist who has written for Smithsonian and The Boston Globe, makes it an exciting read.>br> The New York Times