Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
March 25th marked the 100th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in which 146 lives were lost. Marrin has managed to make the story and importance come alive to younger readers in a way that no other writer about the fire has ever been able to do, whether geared toward young or adult readers.
Leaving the more gory details to others, the book focuses on the important facts. What immigrants came here, why they came here, why they worked the jobs that put them in such danger, what was it like to be an immigrant in the early 1900’s, and most importantly, what changes the fire brought about that effect us to this day.
The writing is approachable and easy to understand without being condescending to young minds. 34 new pieces of legislation were passed to protect workers in reaction to the fire spurred on, not only by the deaths, but by the women, who didn’t even have the right to vote at the time, that decided that it shouldn’t happen again. One women in particular, Frances Perkins, went on to become the Secretary of Labor under FDR. The first woman to serve on the cabinet.
The Triangle Fire was important and Flesh & Blood So Cheap is a vital resource in teaching just where we were then and how far we have come since. So many issues come up when talking about those 146 lives lost; immigration, women’s suffrage, worker’s rights & unions, safety and more.
I can’t stress enough how impressed I was with Marrin’s skill at not talking down or making light of things to coddle the younger set. The flow of the narrative and the glossy pictures made the story jump off of the page. The other book I have read about the fire, Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David Von Drehle, was good but nowhere near as easy to chew & digest.
Can’t wait to get this in the hands of a certain 12 year-old that I know.
Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin.