Triangle Did Change America

339 Words2 Pages
David Von Drehle, author of Triangle The Fire That Changed America, has written a book that has a very broad appeal. It will appeal to the common reader as well as those in academia. The book can be viewed as an important contributor to women’s history as well as labor history and even political history. He tries to prove his thesis that the fire did in fact change America by using newspaper and magazine articles written about the different people portrayed in the book. He was also able to utilize records from the trial of the factory owners Isaac Harris and Max Blanck. The fire that struck New York in 1911 was a horrific event that left 146 people dead, of which 123 were women. The fire only took thirty minutes to achieve the death toll. Why was this death toll so high in such a short amount of time? There were several causes that all contributed in different degrees. These causes sent reformers into action to try to prevent such unnecessary deaths. Von Drehle immediately introduces the reader to Clara Lemlich. Lemlich worked as a draper which was a very skilled job. She had friends that were involved with labor organization within the garment industry. Clara was also active as she had joined the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union in 1906 and even formed Local 25 to try to get some equality for women and workers in the industry. She would take a job and then stir up the workers as she moved from one place to the next. She was viciously beat by a group of men that were trying to send a message to her to stop being a strike organizer. She had involvement with three strikes in a period of three years. Instead, it strengthened her resolve and she returned to the picket line and became a bruised victim that only made the unity stronger among the strikers. This is part of Von Drehle’s way of showing what the atmosphere was during this
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