Wednesday, March 2, 2011

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

Working on a crowded factory floor sewing was bad enough with no air and no space, but it got much worse when a fire broke out and the door to the hall was locked...

Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers published this book in February and sent me a copy for review (thank you).

It is the 100th anniversary of this event, and it's a good time to look back and re-live the tragedy and the sorrow of the loss of such good women and children who were only trying to live a better life.  It's the nature of mankind that makes rich men pay minimal wages to women, children, and minority workers.  They want to keep their wealth.  They also don't care if some of them die, because there is always someone coming in to take their place.  That's a very sad trait of humankind.  

This factory was a perfect example of how the moneyed folk abused those without.  It was several stories high, folks were mashed up against each other so there was no wasted space, there no windows to speak of, and the doors were locked to make sure they weren't taking forbidden breaks from work.  Just one small spark turned into a tragedy the like of which had not been seen before.  I'd like to say it hasn't been seen since, but humans just don't seem to learn much from history.

Men died in factory fires, too, but this particular fire took one hundred and forty-six lives.  The only tragedy to exceed this count was the event on September 11, 2001.

This well written account has a lot of photos to help young ones visualize life in 1911. You learn about where the immigrants began their lives and what they had hoped for in the US.  

It's a disturbing story, but it's our history and we need to learn from the past.  Get a copy and share it with your child.  I'd suggest that you discuss this tragedy with your child and let them know there are safety requirements in place now that make work places safer.  Let them know how far we've come and how much farther we have to go...

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