Triangle: The Fire That Changed America
David von DrehleISBN: 080214151X;
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...