Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

Topics: Trade union, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Al Smith Pages: 3 (1043 words) Published: October 20, 2013
Published in 2004 by Gover Atlantic Inc, David Von Brehle wrote Triangle: The Fire That Changed America that recounted that fateful day at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on March 26, 1911. Von Brehle portrayed not only the horrors of the trapped workers in the factory but also included the poor state of worker's safety and low wages. Von Brehle's purpose of writing about the Triangle disaster is to inform readers that factory conditions in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century were very unsafe as employees worked for very little pay.

The beginning of the book starts off on a brief note of the aftermath of the Triangle fire disaster. It describes how people around the shirtwaist factory reacted to this tragedy including the employees' family members. The book later returns to chronological order and starts to tell about labor unions, such as WTUL (Women's Trade Union League), being granted their requests from factories after a long bitter strike. The life of the immigrants is also depicted before and after their departure towards the United States, the “Golden Land.” Stories about Jewish mistreatment in Eastern Europe were very common, like in the case of Rosie Freedman. Religious oppression and poverty forced many Jews from Eastern Europe to evacuate their homeland towards the United States. As for Italian immigrants, they were escaping an ecological disaster. The cutting of trees by irresponsible privateers caused a massive change in the country ecology that eventually lead towards hunger and disease due to the erosion of topsoil. The huge migration of immigrants to the United States sparked a time of cheap labor. Industries, such as the Triangle, took advantage of the immigrants' situation by paying them very little to work up to fourteen hours a day, six days a week. Not only were they underpaid, their safety was at risk. A crowded workplace and lent floating in the air only meant disaster. Disaster soon struck on the afternoon of March...
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