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Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town
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Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  44 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
When Deborah Rudacille was a child growing up in the working-class town of Dundalk, Maryland, a worker at the local Sparrows Point steel mill made more than enough to comfortably support a family. But in the decades since, the decline of American manufacturing has put tens of thousands out of work and left the people of Dundalk pondering the broken promise of the American ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Pantheon (first published 2010)
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Sep 09, 2012 Zovig rated it really liked it
what happens when the steel mill dies? deborah rudacille, dundalk, md native and daughter of steelworkers, explores how the booms and busts of the postwar period have affected the people who worked and lived in sparrows point. the history of the union and mill are interwoven with the stories of workers, union organizers, and family members, which show how much the immediate postwar period of prosperity was a fragile peak that was bound to crumble without better forethought by mill owners, govern ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Ctydings rated it it was amazing
Rudacille puts together an illuminating yet tragic history of the rise and fall of the Sparrows Point steel mill in southeast Baltimore County. It was fascinating in the worst way, because (aside from my own personal knowledge) I could see where the story would end up, it was just a matter of time. It's like watching a train wreck - it's terrible to read of the unfortunate decline of such a powerful industrial beacon, but I couldn't tear my eyes from the page until I learned how such a fate befe ...more
Aug 21, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, baltimore
History buffs and people resident to Baltimore may wonder where all the industry of their youth went. Ms. Rudacille presents a lively history of the boom, bust, boom and bust of giants like Bethlehem Steel, Crown, Cork and Seal, the shipbuilding industry, and many other steel and industrial companies. Basically, the world wars, the depression and the post-WWII slumps drove those industries into bankruptcy and eventual disappearance. A great history of post war America.
Dec 04, 2013 Margaret rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
What an interesting book! The author traces the history of the steel mills in the area of Baltimore County (abutting Baltimore (the City), MD) known as Sparrows Point. This history touches on so many topics: unions, race, class, immigration and U.S. migration, rise and fall of the U.S. steel industry, company towns, education, and more, all supported by an amazing amount of research. Clearly the author is obsessed, and one of the things I liked about this book (among many things) is how she also ...more
Aug 05, 2012 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban
With a panoramic study of Bethlehem Steel in Baltimore, all sorts of complex issues are conveyed - labor relations, race, unions, the American healthcare problem, and the slow decline of US manufacturing. There are quotes from workers throughout the book which makes the story real and engaging. I like the fact that the author grew up right near the mill and conveyed her personal observations. It is an objective view of the rise and fall of an industry.
Sep 09, 2011 Melissa rated it liked it
The historical aspect of this book made it an excellent read. The author's politics were the only detraction, and ironic she couldn't see through them to realize what she supported brought down the company she in turn blamed.
Jan 27, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it
A interesting history of the steel company that completely shaped the community where I grew up.
Jan 02, 2011 Ailis rated it really liked it
Great book for anyone who wants to read about history, but not read a history book.
Feb 28, 2011 Dale rated it liked it
Interesting explanation of the rise and fall of a steel town.
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