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Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by…
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Triangle: The Fire that Changed America (2003)

by David Von Drehle

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8072411,302 (3.87)82
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Solidly written and researched, but suffers just a little bit from the author's fascination with the political/labor movement aspects of the tragedy (as opposed to his description of the physical progress of the fire itself, which is somewhat confusing and would have been aided by maps, diagrams, etc.). Might have been more effective if he'd been a little less transparent in his outrage. ( )
  seans88 | Aug 30, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book. I am a big fan of non-fiction, and I particularly enjoy books about specific events and their social/political/historical context. This book is exactly that. The first part of the book is largely dedicated to providing a brief history of Tammany Hall (the political machine that controlled New York at the time of the Triangle fire), the unregulated wild west of the burgeoning manufacturing sector, and the worker exploitation that led to significant labor unrest. The second part of the book is a series of accounts of the fire (both from employees, bystanders, journalists, and responders), and the third part of the book is the fallout from the fire (the lawsuit against the Triangle owners and a significant increase in worker protection laws).

The book is fascinating, and it is a good read, and it is well-written. I am deducting a star because the first parts of the book (in particular the details about the rise of Tammany Hall) felt a little bit like a slog. It wasn't bad or irrelevant information; it just didn't keep my interest entirely. The author does a good job portraying some of the relevant figures of the time (protesters, Tammany men, etc), although at times his portrayals seemed like one-dimensional caricatures and not a balanced overview of the individuals themselves.

Nonetheless, I loved this book and highly recommend it to readers of non-fiction. ( )
  slug9000 | Jan 16, 2015 |
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,... ( )
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1 vote | Tutter | Jan 8, 2015 |
The book starts with an account of the garment workers' strike in New York City in 1909. Mostly immigrants were working in sweatshops to produce garments for very little money. Briefly during the strike, safety came up as a concern, but it wasn't the ultimate concern (working hours and wages were), so nothing was done.

Fast forward to 1911, and 146 people are killed when they cannot escape the 8th-10th floors of the building where the Triangle Waist Factory is. This book describes what happened on March 25, 1911, when people were scrambling for their lives to escape the fire. The owners of the factory were never held accountable, despite a locked door that trapped several workers.

There was only one thing that I lost interest in slightly while reading the book, and that was some of the politics that was happening in New York. Other than that, it is a fascinating account of what happened to those poor people, what led up to it, and the aftermath. ( )
  LibraryCin | Feb 10, 2014 |
As a re-read, even for a school essay, i found that this book is probably the definitive product of the Triangle Factory fire. After reading it for the second time, I truly feel the pain, suffering and frustration that surrounded this event. I adored the author's bringing in of the reality of the real people that were part of, and affected by this tragedy. Here's hoping I do well on this essay! ( )
  TheInvernessie | Nov 26, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080214151X, Paperback)


“Sure to become the definitive account of the fire. . . . Triangle is social history at its best, a magnificent portrayal not only of the catastrophe but also of the time and the turbulent city in which it took place.” —The New York Times Book Review

Triangle is a poignantly detailed account of the 1911 disaster that horrified the country and changed the course of twentieth-century politics and labor relations. On March 25, 1911, as workers were getting ready to leave for the day, a fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York’s Greenwich Village. Within minutes it spread to consume the building’s upper three stories. Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside: their ladders simply weren’t tall enough. People on the street watched in horror as desperate workers jumped to their deaths. The final toll was 146 people—123 of them women. It was the worst disaster in New York City history. Triangle is a vibrant and immensely moving account that Bob Woodward calls, “A riveting history written with flare and precision.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:05 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"On March 25, 1911, as workers were getting ready to leave for the day, a fire broke out in the Triangle shirtwaist factory in New York's Greenwich Village. Within minutes it spread to consume the building's upper three stories. Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside: their ladders simply weren't tall enough. People on the street watched in horror as desperate workers jumped to their deaths. The final toll was 146 people - 123 of them women. It was the worst workplace disaster in New York City History." "This harrowing yet compulsively readable book is both a chronicle of the Triangle shirtwaist fire and a vibrant portrait of an entire age. It follows the waves of Jewish and Italian immigration that inundated New York in the early years of the century, filling its slums and supplying its garment factories with cheap, mostly female labor. It portrays the Dickensian work conditions that led to a massive waist-worker's strike in which an unlikely coalition of socialists, so.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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