Talking to the Girls

Intimate and Political Essays on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

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Pub Date 22 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 04 Jan 2023

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Candid and intimate accounts of the factory-worker tragedy that shaped American labor rights

On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the eighth floor of the Asch Building in Greenwich Village, New York. The top three floors housed the Triangle Waist Company, a factory where approximately 500 workers, mostly young immigrant women and girls, labored to produce fashionable cotton blouses, known as “waists.”

The fire killed 146 workers in a mere 15 minutes but pierced the perpetual conscience of citizens everywhere. The Asch Building had been considered a modern fireproof structure, but inadequate fire safety regulations left the workers inside unprotected. The tragedy of the fire, and the resulting movements for change, were pivotal in shaping workers' rights and unions.

A powerful collection of diverse voices, Talking to the Girls: Intimate and Political Essays on the Triangle Fire brings together stories from writers, artists, activists, scholars, and family members of the Triangle workers. Nineteen contributors from across the globe speak of a singular event with remarkable impact. One hundred and eleven years after the tragic incident, Talking to the Girls articulates a story of contemporary global relevance and stands as an act of collective testimony: a written memorial to the Triangle victims.

Candid and intimate accounts of the factory-worker tragedy that shaped American labor rights

On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the eighth floor of the Asch Building in Greenwich Village, New...

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ISBN 9781613321508
PRICE $26.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Talking to the Girls is a collection of essays written about the Triangle Shirt Factory fire in the early 1900s. The essays explore a range of topics related to the fire, including poverty, immigration, and racism. The working conditions and the number of women who worked in the factory also calls for reflections on women’s rights and the formation of workers unions. I’m not a usually huge fan of anthologies/collections of essays such as this but did find it fairly interesting. I also liked the varied perspectives and view points that this book was able to provide. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book!

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This book took an interesting approach to the Triangle Fire. Some of the essays were stronger than others, which is to be expected in a collection with different authors (and different levels of writing). I would recommend this book to someone who's read the historical accounts of the Triangle Fire, and who wants to examine the event from different (more emotional) perspectives.

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This is an important account of a major historical event but it is also a personal remembrance of the individuals who lost their lives. The author does a great job of presenting detailed historical information in a way which brings the story to life, offering a genuine social history while also offering a forensic account of a tragedy which led to industrial reform.

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