On May 4, 1886, a bomb exploded at a Chicago labor rally, wounding dozens of policemen, seven of whom eventually died. A wave of mass hysteria swept the country, leading to a sensational trial, that culminated in four controversial executions, and dealt a blow to the labor movement from which it would take decades to recover. Historian James Green recounts the rise of the first great labor movement in the wake of the Civil War and brings to life an epic twenty-year struggle for the eight-hour workday. Blending a gripping narrative, outsized characters and a panoramic portrait of a major social movement, Death in the Haymarket is an important addition to the history of American capitalism and a moving story about the class tensions at the heart of Gilded Age America.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||5 MB|
About the Author
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thoroughly researched & very well written.
I always enjoy reading. This book is one I would have bought and passed to my family had I not had to read for my class. This could be a biography of how America was socially and politically. I enjoyed the layout of the text pertaing to the timeline. I really thank B&N for having it available on the Nook! I downloaded the Nook app on my IPad and have enjoyed taking it with me. Marvelous read!
I have read many non-fiction books, and specifically, many accounts of a famous incident such as this one, but this one is not only very informative, but surprisingly readable--surprisingly, because many works of non-fiction are overly formal, overly wordy, and take themselves much too seriously. The subject is serious, but this account of the Haymarket incident is factual and at the same time written in plain language. America is known as a melting pot, but the melting is not always done with a consistency that produces a smooth product. People from all over Europe were allowed to immigrate to the United States, and many of them settled in or around Chicago. No doubt, they were optimistic about their futures in this new country, but the freedom and fairness they read about in the Bill of Rights did not apply to everyone. Europeans of many political persuasions, such as Socialism, Communism, and Anarchism, worked for their rights as workers and as legal residents of the United States, and their work led to the successful rise of several Labor organizations, such the Knights of Labor. Conditions improved over the course of time, but in 1886 the dominant issue was an eight-hour day. Right on the verge of success for the workers, the police clamped down on them. There was more than one violent incident, including the one at the Haymarket, but Haymarket was shocking in that someone threw a bomb that killed several policemen. Anarchists were blamed for the incitement of the bomb-throwing incident, and several of them were hanged for it. James Green's treatment of the entire issue was revealing about the actions of all parties to the event. The United States has a long tradition of providing the death penalty for serious crimes, but Green's research revealed policemen who fired their pistols into the crowd in an attempt to control it, Anarchist speakers who preached a strong conviction for defending oneself and resisting oppression, but not for murder, and a judge and jury selection which was tailor made for conviction, not fairness. My feeling is that no one knows who threw the bomb in the Haymarket, and it is unlikely that anyone ever will. Everyone, however, in the United States, citizen or resident alien, deserves a fair trial when accused of some kind of wrongdoing. The incident and the trial also had far-reaching effects for workers in general and union members in particular. The discussion over the eight-hour day was tabled for a generation, the Knights of Labor were essentially neutralized and forgotten, and workers were again under the thumbs of their bosses. James Green brings the Haymarket incident alive for persons who were not even born when it happened, and his insight and excellent research brings all of the facts to the forefront, not to mention the style of writing which makes Death in the Haymarket very readable. The book makes it possible to read through the facts with a steady flow, and allows the reader to make up his/her own mind as to right and wrong, good and bad, and true and false.