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On a June morning in 1870, seventy-five Chinese immigrants stepped off a train in the New England factory town of North Adams, Massachusetts, imported as strikebreakers by the local shoe manufacturer. They threaded their way through a hostile mob and then--remarkably--their new employer lined them up along the south wall of his factory and had them photographed as the mob fell silent. So begins "A Shoemaker's Story." Anthony Lee seeks to understand the social forces that brought this now-famous photograph into being, and the events and images it subsequently spawned. He traces the rise of photography as a profession and the hopes and experiences of immigrants trying to find their place in the years following the Civil War. He describes the industrialization of the once-traditional craft of shoemaking, and the often violent debates about race, labor, class, and citizenship that industrialization caused.
Generously illustrated with many extraordinary photographs, "A Shoemaker's Story" brings 1870s America to vivid life. Lee's spellbinding narrative interweaves the perspectives of people from very different walks of life--the wealthy factory owner who dared to bring the strikebreakers to New England, the Chinese workers, the local shoemakers' union that did not want them there, the photographers themselves, and the ordinary men and women who viewed and interpreted their images. Combining painstaking research with world-class storytelling, Lee illuminates an important episode in the social history of the United States, and reveals the extent to which photographs can be sites of intense historical struggle.
Generously illustrated with many extraordinary photographs, A Shoemaker's Story brings 1870s America to vivid life. Combining painstaking research with world-class storytelling, Lee illuminates an important episode in the social history of the United States, and reveals the extent to which photographs can be sites of intense historical struggle. Spartacus Educational Although some historians might be put off by Lee's narrative style, it is a useful and informative method to access the complexity of American industrialization and especially to bring the voices of those who are often silent in the past to the forefront. Furthermore, for historians who are looking for model scholarship that uses photographs as more than illustrations, this book is a welcome and much-needed resource. -- Krystyn R. Moon American Historical Review The rewards are everywhere present in Lee's research--and the pleasure of his writing. As a historian, Lee combines the local detail with the large issues, all the while turning elegant phrases and marshalling his account into a page-turning story that asserts, after all, 'what the author saw.' -- Ellen Wiley Tod College Art Association Innovative and ambitious, A Shoemaker's Story is a lucid and detailed account that is sophisticated in its methodology. Given the wide-ranging subject matter, Lee has produced a remarkably disciplined text, presenting the reader with a distinctive narrative tone that is mature, confident, and occasionally playful. -- James Opp Labour-Le Travail Lee's lively and accessible account of their story is a must read for students and scholars of immigration and labor history. -- Evelyn Sterne Journal of American Ethnic History A Shoemaker's Story will justifiably find a place in the historiography of photography, immigration, the visual culture of diaspora, and nineteenth-century industrialization. It is a model of research design, engaging narrative prose, and close attention to the specificity of form... Telling a new story in old-fashioned ways, [Lee] has crafted an exquisite piece of scholarship whose very title suggests the traditional detective work essential to both good history and compelling prose. -- Elspeth H. Brown CAA Reviews A Shoemaker's Story gives us a history of these events, offering an instructive and vividly written case study into the development of industry and unions, the deskilling of labor, the growth of immigration, and the transformation of identities that characterized post Civil War America. -- Mike Rabourn Historical Journal of Massachusetts
|What the Shoe Manufacturer Saw||p. 12|
|What the Photographers Saw||p. 74|
|What the Crispins Saw||p. 144|
|What the Chinese Saw||p. 197|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 314
Published: 1st July 2008
Dimensions (cm): 23.7 x 19.0 x 2.509
Weight (kg): 0.946