Triangle: The Fire That Changed America Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

    Von Drehle details the worst workplace disaster of the twentieth century in America: the fire in the Triangle Waist Factory on March 25, 1911. He begins by talking about the growth of the labor movement in the garment industry in New York City, emphasizing the strike of 1909, noting how the police and politicians took the side of the business owners against the strikers. Although conditions for the workers improved a little after the strike, they were still horrible.
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    He discusses in detail conditions at the Triangle Factory responsible for the tragedy resulting in the death of 146 workers: a lot of flammable material kept in bins and on the tables, locked doors to prevent workers from leaving the premises with stolen goods, a poor fire escape, no fire drill practices, late warnings. All in all it was a tragedy waiting to happen. His narration of the individual stories of workers trying to escape from the inferno are harrowing.

    The book also discusses some of the reforms that eventually were enacted as a result of the fire.

The review of this Book prepared by Jack Goodstein

Chapter Analysis of Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

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Kind Of History

Time of history:    -   Early 1900's History of disaster/tragedy?    -   Yes Kind of disaster:    -   fire Nationality?    -   American--Northeast Economic History?    -   Yes Industry    -   Labor

Subjects of this Historical Account

Religion? (if plays a major part)    -   Jews! Is the portrayal sympathetic?    -   Somewhat sympathetic From a certain profession/group?    -   simple laborers Intelligence of subject of history:    -   Naive


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast If applicable, liberal/conservative?    -   Historian is very liberal

Writing Style

How much gore?    -   8 () How fast-paced is the book?    -   8 () Accounts of torture and death?    -   very explicit references to deaths and torture Book makes you feel...    -   challenged How much focus on stories of individuals?    -   Focuses on brief history of a lot of players How much romance?    -   1 () Minor characters feature lots of:    -   politicians Is this a kid's book?    -   Ages 16-Adult Pictures/Illustrations?    -   A significant amount Length of book    -   250-300 pages How much emphasis on small details?    -   6 ()

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David Von Drehle Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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