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The Harbor

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  79 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
1915. Poole worked as a journalist where he campaigned for social reforms including an end to child labor. On the outbreak of the First World War he worked as a war correspondent for The Saturday Evening Post. The Harbor is his novel about trade unions.

The book begins: "You chump, I thought contemptuously. I was seven years old at the time, and the gentleman to whom I ref
Paperback, 396 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Kessinger Publishing
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Aug 16, 2012 Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction
I ran across a review of The Harbor that said it was one of the few accessible novels of protest fiction, up there with the Grapes of Wrath. Tying it to my second favorite Steinbeck novel was a good reason for me to grab this book. [In Dubious Battle is my favorite Steinbeck work.] The Harbor is a long book, coming in at almost 400 pages on my Kindle, but it is worth the effort, and the flow is effortless.

The book chronicles the life of the narrator, Bill, who grew up in Brooklyn, overlooking th
This is an interesting book. In my opinion, it is one of the best social protest books in American literature. It deals with early 20th century feminist concerns—suffrage, the woman's place in the work force, and the woman's role in the family, especially regarding child-rearing responsibilities. It looks into labor vs capital relations, workplace safety, and general working conditions. And of course New York harbor is the central theme. We see the harbor through the point of view of three diffe ...more
James L
Jul 22, 2015 James L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting period piece. The story of a bourgeois dilatant who discovers the grim underside of turn-of-the-19th-century industrialism. The harbor in question is New York. A history of how the harbor has changed since the age of sail, and the social and economic consequences of that change, is woven in to the story of the protagonist’s family. Through his protagonist, the author presents the case for the ideology of the “great man”. At this time, there was a widespread idea that all of society’s ...more
Jan 05, 2009 Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature, fiction
“The Harbor” is Ernest Poole’s best known work, although his later work, “His Family”, would be the first novel to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1918. “The Harbor was published in 1915, and the novel is among the first, if not the first, to present labor unions in a positive light. Though certainly a gritty novel for its time, I would not doubt that many readers today might find it rather tame. Ernest Poole clearly had sympathy for socialist causes, and this can be found in much of his work.

The nove
Feb 28, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE HARBOR. (1915). Ernest Poole. ****.
Ernest Poole (1880-1950) was born and raised in Chicago, and was a journalist in the early days of his career. He was a member of the muck-raking school, writing articles on a variety of industrial injustices imposed on the average working man. His Socialist leanings took him to all parts of the world, including Russia, where he worked with John Reed on several articles. After a slow start, he finally emerged as a successful novelist with the publication o
Eric Heff
Jul 20, 2012 Eric Heff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was assigned this book as part of a Modernist literature class at the University of Akron and I was quite surprised on how much I liked it. Many assigned novels are usually interesting but I wouldn't say that I read them for pleasure. This book was different and I enjoyed it a lot. Especially the first 2 sections of the book. There are many great scenes in the second half of the book but I think the first half was written much better.
Billy wants to be a writer and to be a good writer he feels
Feb 03, 2014 Andres rated it liked it
It took a while for the book to really get going, it was not until the last quarter of the book that it really began to incite my passion for reading about stuff like this. I think "The Jungle" by Sinclair spoiled this genre for me; it is an absolute masterpiece of early 20th century "socialist" literature from page one till the end. But leaving "Jungle" aside, "The Harbor" stands out as more of an autobiography than a "muckraking" novel.
Karlo Mikhail
Sep 13, 2015 Karlo Mikhail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll be reviewing this in the future. Highly recommended.
Kathleen Hulser
Gung-ho fresh-faced boy wanders New York harbor, starting from his boyhood forays down Brooklyn Heights. Determined to find authentic heart of American experience in industrial metropolis and sooty harbor. Full of turn-of-the century labor radicalism, written by a journalist who participated in Patterson Silk Strike Pageant and befriended Bill Haywood, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and John Reed. This is less the tracery of cables pinning the Brooklyn Bridge to East River shores and more a close-up of ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing
Superb! Absolutely superb! Opens your mind, draws you in. Brilliant writer.
Jun 13, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
The first book by Poole, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his second book, but critics generally think this was the better book. It follows the development of a harbor area in NYC, through the character as a child, a young man, and then a grown man. It essentially traces the industrialization of the US and the way that international trade changed US economic relations. It also traces the rise of unions in the US, which I enjoyed. Good book!
Cooper Renner
Aug 06, 2013 Cooper Renner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
98-year-old novel about a young man's growing up alongside the NY harbor and gradually moving from sympathy for the movers and shakers to sympathy for the stokers, dockers, and "little men" who suffer for little pay. A "Socialist" novel, which ought to be better known. It is also almost a kind of metafiction or postmodern work, as the book becomes by its end the book its narrator has decided to write.
Jack Goodstein
Feb 16, 2012 Jack Goodstein rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Socialist muckraking in which the hero (Billy, no last name) tells the story of his growth from believer in art, to believer in capitalism, to a belliever in the revolution of the workers. Valuable more as a social document than as a significant work of literature.
Apr 12, 2012 Xdw rated it did not like it
socialist rant
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Ernest Poole graduated from Princeton University in 1902. He worked as a journalist and was active in promoting social reforms including the ending of child labor He was a correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post in Europe before and during World War I.

His novel The Harbor (1915) is the work for which he is known best.It is set largely among the proletariat of the industrial Brooklyn waterfron
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