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Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy

by Albert Marrin

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
182 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-86889-4

Age 12 and older

On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the eighth floor of the Asch Building near in Manhattan, where the Triangle Waist Company occupied three floors. Some of the workers on the eighth and tenth floors escaped, but the workers on the crowded ninth floor, mostly young Italian and Russian Jewish immigrants, were trapped by a door that had been locked to prevent workers from leaving early. In all, 146 women died as a result, either from burning or jumping from the ninth floor windows in an attempt to escape the flames. Using many first-person accounts and historic photographs, Marrin provides young readers with a solid background about new immigration at the turn of the century, as well as the sorts of working conditions that led to the tragedy. He also describes the rise of the labor movement and formation of unions prior to the fire and shows how he fire changed public opinion, paving the way for legislation that provided better working conditions, higher wages, and the right to unionize. He concludes with a look at modern-day working conditions overseas and here in the United States where people continue to work in situations not much better than those in the Triangle Waist Company. (KTH) ©2011 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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