The 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts was a watershed moment in labor history as significant as the Haymarket bombing in Chicago and the Triangle fire in New York. In Bread and Roses
, veteran journalist Bruce Watson provides a long-overdue account of the strike that began when textile workers stormed out of the mills in Lawrence on a frigid January day. Despite ownersÂ' predictions to the contrary, the walkout soon became a protracted Dickensian drama that included twenty-three thousand strikers from fifty-one nations singing as they paraded through Lawrence, bayonet-toting militiamen patrolling the streets, and the daring evacuation of the strikersÂ' tattered and hungry children to Manhattan, where they lived with strangers and wrote loving letters to their parents on the picket line.
Based on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories, Bread and Roses is vividly narrated and teeming with colorful charactersÂ—including rags-to-riches mill owner William Wood and radical labor leader Â“Big BillÂ” Haywood. A rousing history with the narrative drive of a novel, Bread and Roses is the true-to-life tale of a strike that became the fabric of a community and an inspiration to workers around the world.