Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town” as Want to Read:
Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  54 Ratings  ·  10 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Roots of Steel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Roots of Steel

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 15, 2012 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
Sep 09, 2012 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
Dec 04, 2013 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
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baltimore, trump-era
A comprehensive (yet by no means dense) look at the rise and fall of Bethlehem Steel's operation in Baltimore's nearby Sparrows Point neighborhood. Tackles everything from the dangers of the work to unionizing to racism (where it pays way more than lip service) and finally the total fallout of the company. Author Deborah Rudacille is a native of the area with family who worked in the mills but this is not a sympathetic portrait. She's quite honest with the problems of the company and steelworker ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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.
Sep 09, 2011 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.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting explanation of the rise and fall of a steel town.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great book for anyone who wants to read about history, but not read a history book.
rated it liked it
Aug 20, 2014
rated it liked it
Jan 17, 2011
rated it liked it
Dec 24, 2009
T. Rudacille
rated it it was amazing
Apr 15, 2016
rated it liked it
Oct 05, 2011
Brian T. Scott
rated it really liked it
Nov 23, 2014
Dhs Sparrell
rated it really liked it
Nov 29, 2014
rated it liked it
Sep 11, 2016
rated it liked it
Apr 21, 2017
Miguel Buddle
rated it liked it
Dec 17, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jul 09, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2014
Jon Connelly
rated it it was amazing
May 28, 2017
rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2014
Pamela O'Reilly
rated it really liked it
Jan 29, 2014
rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2011
Nan Shellabarger
rated it really liked it
Jun 24, 2017
Holli Rahl
rated it it was amazing
Sep 24, 2014
Amy Liz
rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2014
Greg Leftwich
rated it it was amazing
Jan 15, 2014
rated it it was ok
Aug 10, 2017
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »