Like Fire in Broom Straw: Southern Journalism and the Textile Strikes of 1929-1931 (Hardback)
  • Like Fire in Broom Straw: Southern Journalism and the Textile Strikes of 1929-1931 (Hardback)
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Like Fire in Broom Straw: Southern Journalism and the Textile Strikes of 1929-1931 (Hardback)

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£50.00
Hardback 144 Pages / Published: 30/09/2001
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The southern textile strikes of 1929-1931 were ferocious struggles--thousands of millhands went on strike, the National Guard was deployed, several people were killed and hundreds injured and jailed. The southern press, and for a time the national press, covered the story in enormous detail. In recounting developments, southern reporters and editors found themselves swept up on a painful and sweeping re-examination and reconstruction of southern institutions and values. Whalen explores the largely unknown world of southern journalism and investigates the ways in which the upheaval in textiles triggered profound soul-searching among southerners. The southern textile strikes of 1929-1931 were ferocious struggles--thousands of millhands went on strike, the National Guard was deployed, several people were killed and hundreds injured and jailed. The southern press, and for a time the national press, covered the story in enormous detail. In recounting developments, southern reporters and editors found themselves swept up on a painful and sweeping re-examination and reconstruction of southern institutions and values. Whalen explores the largely unknown world of southern journalism and investigates the ways in which the upheaval in textiles triggered profound soul-searching among southerners. The worlds of labor, journalism, and the American South collide in this study. That collision, Whalen claims, is the prelude to the stunning social, economic, and cultural transformation of the American South which occurred in the last half of the twentieth century. The textile strikes shocked the mind of the South, a fact that can readily be seen in hometown papers, as reporters and editors ran the gamut from denial and scheming to hoping and dreaming--sometimes even bravely confronting the truth. The reevaluation of southern manners and mores that would culminate in the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s can be dated back to this period of turmoil.

Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 9780313316982
Number of pages: 144
Weight: 386 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Drawing heavily on a series of southern newspapers, Whalen (Queen's College, North Carolina) carefully explores their accounts of the textile strikes that rippled across the region from 1929 to 1931. The southern press's examination of the labor turmoil proved to be inconsistent, hesitant, and incomplete, demonstrating "perplexities, contradictions, and downright confusions." Whalen asserts that the strikes were tied to the "enormous tectonic shift in the southern mind" that was to eventually transform the South. In the short run, newspapers attempted to balance market developments with human rights and democratic precepts. Forced to grapple with the often-dire conditions afflicting workers, those same publications came to view themselves as independent voices that demonstrated fortitude and moral rectitude. Moreover, editors portrayed their newspapers as representatives "of the democratic community." The media, they insisted, had to avoid extremes on either side of the spectrum--the plutocracy or communist "agitators." Consequently, longstanding ties between the newspapers and mill barons became more tenuous. While damning radicals as irrational, anarchistic, and un-American, the papers frequently referred to laborers as overworked, underpaid, and mercilessly exploited. With the passage of time, some came to depict labor unions in a more moderate, if not an altogether positive, light. Recommended for general libraries and advanced students."-Choice
"Anyone interested in journalism history and textile history in the South will find both in Robert W. Whalen's well-written narrative, "Like Fire in Broom Straw.""-The North Carolina Historical Review
..."a fine book, refreshingly well-written for a monograph and elegantly slim, worthy of the widest readership among historians of southern labor and journalism and of southern society more generally."-The Register
"Whalem has succeeded here in showing that the New South was a more complex phenomenon than has often been supposed. His book is an imaginative contribution to understanding the New South."-The Journal of Economic History
?Anyone interested in journalism history and textile history in the South will find both in Robert W. Whalen's well-written narrative, "Like Fire in Broom Straw."?-The North Carolina Historical Review
?...a fine book, refreshingly well-written for a monograph and elegantly slim, worthy of the widest readership among historians of southern labor and journalism and of southern society more generally.?-The Register
?Whalem has succeeded here in showing that the New South was a more complex phenomenon than has often been supposed. His book is an imaginative contribution to understanding the New South.?-The Journal of Economic History
?Drawing heavily on a series of southern newspapers, Whalen (Queen's College, North Carolina) carefully explores their accounts of the textile strikes that rippled across the region from 1929 to 1931. The southern press's examination of the labor turmoil proved to be inconsistent, hesitant, and incomplete, demonstrating "perplexities, contradictions, and downright confusions." Whalen asserts that the strikes were tied to the "enormous tectonic shift in the southern mind" that was to eventually transform the South. In the short run, newspapers attempted to balance market developments with human rights and democratic precepts. Forced to grapple with the often-dire conditions afflicting workers, those same publications came to view themselves as independent voices that demonstrated fortitude and moral rectitude. Moreover, editors portrayed their newspapers as representatives "of the democratic community." The media, they insisted, had to avoid extremes on either side of the spectrum--the plutocracy or communist "agitators." Consequently, longstanding ties between the newspapers and mill barons became more tenuous. While damning radicals as irrational, anarchistic, and un-American, the papers frequently referred to laborers as overworked, underpaid, and mercilessly exploited. With the passage of time, some came to depict labor unions in a more moderate, if not an altogether positive, light. Recommended for general libraries and advanced students.?-Choice
.,."a fine book, refreshingly well-written for a monograph and elegantly slim, worthy of the widest readership among historians of southern labor and journalism and of southern society more generally."-The Register

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