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Non-Fiction Book Club to Discuss "Bread & Roses" by Bruce Watson - 6:30 PM - March 3, 2016



Bread & Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream by Bruce Watson

Description from Book Jacket:


The 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, was a watershed moment in American history, as significant as the Haymarket bombing  in Chicago and the Triangle fire in New York. In Bread and Roses, Bruce Watson proves a long overdue account of the strike, which began when textile workers stormed out of the mills in Lawrence on a frigid January day. Despite owners’ predictions to the contrary, the walkout son became a protracted Dickensian drama that included twenty-three thousand strikers from fifty-one nations singing as they paraded through Lawrence, bayoneting militiamen patrolling the streets, and the daring evacuation f the strikers’ tattered and hungry children to Manhattan, where they lived with strangers and wrote loving letters to their parents on the picket line.
Based on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories, Bread and Roses is vividly narrated and teeming with colorful characters. These include rags-to-riches mill owner William Wood, feisty organizer Angelo Rocco, “Rebel Girl” Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and radical labor leader “Big Bill” Haywood. A rousing history with the narrative drive of a novel, Bread and Roses is the true tale of a strike that became the fabric of a community and an inspiration to workers around the world. As the first full-length account of one of the twentieth century’s most riveting struggles, it is also an important contribution to American history.

About the Author:



While becoming a writer, Bruce Watson worked as a factory hand, a journalist, a bartender, an office temp, a Peace Corps volunteer, and an elementary school teacher. As a frequent contributor to Smithsonian, Watson wrote more than 40 feature articles on subjects ranging from eels to Ferraris to the history of Coney Island.  He is the author of Edgar Award Finalist, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, The Murders and The Judgment of Mankind, Freedom Summer: The Savage Season of 1964 That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy, and e-biographies of both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Watson holds a Master’s Degree in American history from the University of Massachusetts and lives with his wife and two children in Western Massachusetts.  He is currently at work on a “biography” of Light.

Pollard Library Non-Fiction book club happens at 6:30 on the first Thursday of every month. It is free and open to the public. Copies of books up for discussion are available for patrons to borrow on a first come first serve basis at the 1st Floor Information Desk. You may also reserve a copy by calling the Community Planning Department at 978-674-1542. For more information about this group please contact Sean Thibodeau, Coordinator of Community Planning, at or 978-674-1542.