History in Review
Sweatshop USA. The American Sweatshop in Historical and Global Perspective
Edited by Daniel E. Bender and Richard A. Greenwald. (Routledge, London and New York: 2003. Pg. xii, 300. Illustrations.) ISBN: 0-415-93561-X.
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - December 29, 2003
Sweatshops have a long and odious history. It is also a term that evokes a strong emotional response in most people. While many view sweatshops as a thing of the past, regrettably they can still be found in the United States, and abroad. In Sweatshop USA - The American Sweatshop in Historical and Global Perspective, Daniel E. Bender and Richard A. Greenwald have compiled a series of essays that delve into the history of the sweatshop, and its modern day manifestations. This book provides an authoritative definition of what a sweatshop is and the economic conditions that give rise to the development of sweatshops. It also delineates the reasons why people consent to work in a sweatshop environment, and the harm that it does, both morally and physically, to sweatshop workers. Most important, this book explores the various movements that have arisen to eliminate sweatshops, and the ongoing effort to abolish the sweatshop system around the world.
The essays in Sweatshop USA are arranged into three thematic sections:
In addition to a forward by Daniel J. Walkowitz, and an introduction by the books editors, there are thirteen essays in this book. A sampling of the essays contained in this anthology include:
- Producing the Sweatshop
- Sweatshop Migrations
- Sweatshop Resistance
The essays contained in this collection give the reader an understanding of the history of the American sweatshop, and how, and why, the sweatshop system is an integral component of the modern global economy. Each essay is enhanced by the inclusion of comprehensive endnotes that will prove invaluable to students, historians, and anyone working in the field of 'sweatshop studies'. Sweatshop USA is a must read for anyone interested in the political, economic, and social implications of the global Sweatshop system, as well as anyone interested in the history of sweatshops in the USA.
- Bringing Sweatshops into the Museum, by Peter Liebhold and Harry R. Rubenstein
- Sweatshops in Sunset Park: A Variation of the Late-Twentieth-Century Chinese Garment Shops in New York City, by Xiaolan Bao
- Globalization and Worker Organization in New York City's Garment Industry, by Immanuel Ness
- Sweatshop Feminism: Italian Women's Political Culture in New York City's Needle Trades, 1890-1919, by Jennifer Guglielmo
- Consumers of the World Unite! Campaigns Against Sweating, Past and Present, by Eileen Boris
- The Ideal Sweatshop? Gender and Transnational Protest, by Ethel Brooks
Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, by David von Drehle.
This history of the fire at the Triangle Waist Company is more than just a story about the horrific effects of fire - it is also a story about sweatshops and work place safety, or the lack thereof. It is also a story about the American labor movement, political corruption, greed, and most important, it is the story of the people who worked, and died, at the Triangle factory.
The Acquisitive Society, by Richard Henry Tawney.
In this book Tawney expounds upon his theory that acquisitiveness is morally wrong and that it has a deleterious effect on society. He also offers ideas on how to create a more equitable society.
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