Death and Dying in the Working Class, 1865-1920

Death and Dying in the Working Class, 1865-1920

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Michael K. Rosenow investigates working people's beliefs, rituals of dying, and the politics of death by honing in on three overarching questions: How did workers, their families, and their communities experience death? Did various identities of class, race, gender, and religion coalesce to form distinct cultures of death for working people? And how did people's attitudes toward death reflect notions of who mattered in U.S. society? Drawing from an eclectic array of sources ranging from Andrew Carnegie to grave markers in Chicago's potter's field, Rosenow portrays the complex political, social, and cultural relationships that fueled the United States' industrial ascent. The result is an undertaking that adds emotional depth to existing history while challenging our understanding of modes of cultural transmission.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 498.95g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252039130
  • 9780252039133

Review quote

"Rosenow is to be congratulated on his mastery of diverse literatures and his rigorous argument. Death and Dying in the Working Class, 1865-1920 demonstrates that wageworker's rituals--and the industrial violence that engendered them--were foundational to the formation of working-class identities and organizations."--American Historical Review

"In his thoughtfully conceived and clearly developed study, Michael K. Rosenow shows that in death as in life, American workers existed on anything but a level playing field."--The Journal of American History "A tantalizing and well-researched glimpse into the rituals of death for workers whose lives held little value outside their own communities in industrializing America."--Annals of Iowa

"Rosenow's book offers rich insight into how the working class of the early twentieth century approached death within their historical and situational context."--Working USA "Through portraits of industrial accidents, political funerals, and burial rituals, this compelling reinterpretation of working-class culture and the making of labor solidarity highlights how bodies in their gendered, class, and ethnic valences matter--in death as well as life."--Eileen Boris, Hull Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

"This award-winning book (it won the Herbert G. Gutman Prize from the Labor and Working Class History Association) helps us understand the complex ways the working class has responded to death on the job and expands our notions of American ways of caring for--and about--the dead."--Journal of Social History
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About Michael K. Rosenow

Michael K. Rosenow is an assistant professor at the University of Central Arkansas.
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