Lumbermen and Log Sawyers: Life, Labor, and Culture in the North Florida Timber Industry, 1830-1930
Nothing so clearly dominated the landscape of the the post-Civil War South as the region's timber industry. The timber industry, the South's largest and arguably its most influential, has been virtually ignored, despite historian Edward Ayers's reminder that lumbering captures the full scope of economic change in the New South. To grasp the lumber industry's impact is to gain a clearer picture of industrialization's impact on the South as a whole.
Lumbermen and Log Sawyers is about the people of North Florida -- about the lumbermen who built and managed the sawmills and the thousands of mill workers and loggers who made them run. It is the story of how sawmill workers, loggers, and lumbermen helped to bring the industrial revolution to the South. It explores the social consequences of industrialization and how the Southern experience fits into the larger picture of American industrial development.
Jeffrey Drobney focuses on the regional variations in industrialization and how Southern working people reacted to it. The result is a well-written study that highlights the diversity of Southern industrialization. The book illuminates the three themes. First, Drobney describes the impact of changing technology on the lives of lumber workers. Then the book notes how Northern industrialists affected Southern land concentration and created a permanent Southern working class. Finally, breaking new ground, Drobney narrates the development of company paternalism and the distinctive sense of community in the lumber towns of North Florida. This is an important story that will serve as a window through which to view the full complexity of industrialization in America and the South.
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