Liberty's Dawn: A People's History of the Industrial Revolution

Liberty s Dawn A People s History of the Industrial Revolution This remarkable book looks at hundreds of autobiographies penned between and to offer an intimate firsthand account of how the Industrial Revolution was experienced by the working class The

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  • Title: Liberty's Dawn: A People's History of the Industrial Revolution
  • Author: Emma Griffin
  • ISBN: 9780300151800
  • Page: 387
  • Format: Hardcover
  • This remarkable book looks at hundreds of autobiographies penned between 1760 and 1900 to offer an intimate firsthand account of how the Industrial Revolution was experienced by the working class The Industrial Revolution brought not simply misery and poverty On the contrary, Griffin shows how it raised incomes, improved literacy, and offered exciting opportunities for pThis remarkable book looks at hundreds of autobiographies penned between 1760 and 1900 to offer an intimate firsthand account of how the Industrial Revolution was experienced by the working class The Industrial Revolution brought not simply misery and poverty On the contrary, Griffin shows how it raised incomes, improved literacy, and offered exciting opportunities for political action For many, this was a period of new, and much valued, sexual and cultural freedom This rich personal account focuses on the social impact of the Industrial Revolution, rather than its economic and political histories In the tradition of best selling books by Liza Picard, Judith Flanders, and Jerry White, Griffin gets under the skin of the period and creates a cast of colorful characters, including factory workers, miners, shoemakers, carpenters, servants, and farm laborers.

    One thought on “Liberty's Dawn: A People's History of the Industrial Revolution”

    1. Here is The New Yorker thumbnail review that alerted me to Liberty's Dawn back in 2013:Griffin counters what she calls “the dark interpretation” of the industrial revolution in a provocative study. Surveying hundreds of autobiographical accounts by people who experienced the changes firsthand, she finds that for much of the British working class “the good wages and regular work that could be found in the factories more than compensated for the clatter of the machines.” Still, the industr [...]

    2. Well researched and well written, Griffin seeks to rebalance the view of the British industrial revolution as a disaster for the working person by referring to the writings of those who lived through it - working people. This is an admirable aim and her writing is generally convincing. She is not starry eyed about working conditions- by modern standards they were terrible - but she claims they were at least generally better than what came before.A few niggles. The chapter contents are somewhat r [...]

    3. Continuing my research into the writings of 'ordinary'/working class people in the nineteenth century. This one's a treasure trove of references. It is also one of a growing number of books that suggest that amidst the poverty and suffering of industrial Britain, there were realised layer on layer better lives for individuals and reforms leading through to the 20th century. In a year or so when I have assimilated thing, I'll reflect upon the somewhat suspect ideology that motivates (in the prese [...]

    4. the author wrote a "5 Best" column in the WSJ 6/14/14. I looked up her name and book because of that column.

    5. Good, and thought-provoking, but with a couple of holesA very interesting revisionist look at the lives of the working class in the Industrial Revolution.Griffin, while acknowledging that some aspects of said people's lives worsened, primarily in the matter of child labor, that, on the whole, on average, it brought betterment even before Victorian-era social reforms.As part of this, she says that some problems associated with the IR, such as irregular/seasonal unemployment, actually carry over f [...]

    6. I love the idea of challenging established notions, and the research on diaries of people who seem to have done well at this time has a lot of appeal. But Griffin doesn't know enough of the wider history of the time and makes some very ropey claims and assumptions. She claims that rural labourers were all poor and miserable, but what she is seeing is the result of the enclosures which ruined the lives of many, and drove them to seek work in the cities. She mentions Cobbett,but fails to understan [...]

    7. A very interesting book which gives a new view of the Industrial Revolution. Historians of the revolution have tended to dwell on the downside - poor working conditions, exploitation of child labour etc, but in this book a different picture emerges. Emma griffin draws on the considerable number of autobiographies written by working class people who lived through the Industrial Revolution, to show that all of them considered that their lives had been bettered by industrialisation. Many of them, p [...]

    8. So, two big words: survival bias. Less successful people weren't writing about their lives, people who died early weren't writing about their lives, women largely weren't writing about their lives, and successful working-class men might have a different view on the times than the others.That being said, there is obviously value in comparing contents of autobiographies that did get written over time or over regions or over the writer's work, and that's a big part of what makes this book worth rea [...]

    9. "Autobiographies" is the most frequent noun in this exhaustively researched, fascinatingly human account of the Industrial Revolution. Using 350 self-penned accounts of life, Griffin has fashioned an in-depth look at how the growth of mechanization affected individuals (male, female, young) and by implication the broad spectrum of English working classes. She weaves multiple quotes into her text which while giving authenticity and credibility precludes a sweeping, author-generated feel to the re [...]

    10. I picked this up after reading a review who knows where, hoping I'd find some echos of globalization and today's crazy disruptions in Britain's Industrial Revolution. Griffin offers a perspective derived from workers' autobiographies and argues that the Industrial Revolution generally made things better. Pre-industrial Britain didn't have anything close to full employment and workers had few options; in post-industrial Britain they were more mobile, hard bargaining power, and were by their own a [...]

    11. An interesting piece of research using working people's autobiographies to provide a different viewpoint on the effects of the industrial revolution on the working class. But,in the end, I'm not sure her final thesis is that different from what has gone before. I found the social changes brought about by the availability of more and better paid work the most interesting part e.g. The effects on courtship and marriage. Overall, it needed more contextualisation as a framework for the personal expe [...]

    12. Still reading it! Not a book that I can read non-stop! The experiences one reads about often call for some pause and reflection. Nonetheless, an extremely readable book. Of academic importance, but without any doubt a book anyone with an interest in 19th Cent. British history would find engrossing. Especially so, if that interest is in "People's" history,

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