Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory

4 avg rating
( 237 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781560983682: Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

   In 1943 two spirited young teachers decided to do their part for the war effort by spending their summer vacation working the swing shift on a B-24 production line at a San Diego bomber plant. Entering a male-dominated realm of welding torches and bomb bays, they learned to use tools that they had never seen before, live with aluminum shavings in their hair, and get along with supervisors and coworkers from all walks of life. 
   
   They also learned that wearing their factory slacks on the street caused men to treat them in a way for which their "dignified schoolteacher-hood" hadn't prepared them. At times charming, hilarious, and incredibly perceptive, Slacks and Calluses brings into focus an overlooked part of the war effort, one that forever changed the way the women were viewed in America.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

"You build bombers!" they howled. "An art teacher and an English teacher!"

In 1943 America's defense industries were so desperate for workers that school teachers were asked to work in factories during summer vacation. Slacks and Calluses is the story of two women--the image of "dignified schoolteacher-hood"--who went to work for Consolidated Vultee Aircraft, building bombers on the swing shift. Constance and Clara Marie traded their linen suits and "swooping" hats for blue cotton factory slacks and sturdy shoes, filled out dozens of government forms, packed up their few tools in what they hoped would pass for tool boxes--"small lunch boxes, the unpleasant color of unripe green olives"--and presented themselves for work. Over the next two months, they learned to use a wide range of tools, climbing in and out of B-24 Liberator bombers performing final installations--electrical wiring, seatbelt brackets, life rafts, bomb bay doors, the works. They also learned to deal with aching muscles and feet, grimy hands, lost sleep, and "dural termites"--slivers of duraluminum from the aircraft walls that worked their way under the skin. Even more trying was the change in the way they were treated--because they were wearing slacks. Female sales clerks were no longer polite, while men no longer offered their seats on crowded buses yet felt free to grab or whistle at them on the street. "Clothes, we reflected sadly, make the woman--and some clothes make the man think that he can make the woman."

Throughout the summer, the women kept pencils and notepads in their toolboxes, Constance noting stories and profiling her coworkers, Clara Marie making sketches. A few months later, in 1944, their memoir was first published. The resulting text sparkles with immediacy and with the women's ebullient wit. With its first-hand look at women war workers and its behind-the-scenes look at the building of the B-24, Slacks and Calluses provides a refreshingly different angle on World War II. --Sunny Delaney

From the Author:

"Slacks and Calluses" was written in 1943. At that time-- in the middle of World War II-- our defense industries were so desperate for labor that they were urging school teachers, women as well as men, to take factory jobs after school or during summer vacations. I was teaching English. Clara Marie Allen taught art. We were young and If Consolidated Aircraft thought that we could build B-24 Liberators, we were willing to give it a try.

Outfitted in linen suits, big hats and high heels, we presented ourselves at the Employment Office. Within a week we wearing slacks, heavy shoes and safety glasses. We had been assigned to Final Assembly. It was a totally different world for us, and one which we found very interesting. We kept little notebooks and stubs of pencils stashed in our tool boxes. During lunch and "smokes" I jotted down incidents and conversations, Clara Marie made quick sketches. The following morning, since we worked the swing shift, we had time to write and draw. By the time we returned to teaching in September, we had a book almost finished. A publisher found it "amusing and accurately presented". The war had been going on for a long time. He thought "it might help to raise the sagging morale on the home front".

So it happened that at the beginning of August 1944 "Slacks and Calluses" was in print. People snapped up copies, usually buying extras to send to friends and relatives overseas. Everybody in town seemed to be talking about our book. For a while we were locally famous. Then the war was over.

Eventually we both left teaching, had other lives, children and grandchildren.

Now the Smithsonian Institution Press is republishing "Slacks and Calluses". The book we had written almost as a lark is, so we are told, "an artifact" of military history and the history of women-- a firsthand, on the spot account of exactly what it was like for women to do men's work during World War II.

It is also, still, as young and lighthearted as we were fifty-five years ago.

I think you will enjoy it.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

Stock Image

1.

Constance Bowman
Published by Smithsonian Books, United States (2004)
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)

Book Description Smithsonian Books, United States, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Clara Marie Allen (illustrator). New edition. Language: English. Brand new Book. In 1943 two spirited young teachers decided to do their part for the war effort by spending their summer vacation working the swing shift on a B-24 production line at a San Diego bomber plant. Entering a male-dominated realm of welding torches and bomb bays, they learned to use tools that they had never seen before, live with aluminum shavings in their hair, and get along with supervisors and coworkers from all walks of life. They also learned that wearing their factory slacks on the street caused men to treat them in a way for which their "dignified schoolteacher-hood" hadn't prepared them. At times charming, hilarious, and incredibly perceptive, Slacks and Calluses brings into focus an overlooked part of the war effort, one that forever changed the way the women were viewed in America. Seller Inventory # BZV9781560983682

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 18.20
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

2.

Constance Bowman
Published by Smithsonian Books, United States (2004)
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)

Book Description Smithsonian Books, United States, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Clara Marie Allen (illustrator). New edition. Language: English. Brand new Book. In 1943 two spirited young teachers decided to do their part for the war effort by spending their summer vacation working the swing shift on a B-24 production line at a San Diego bomber plant. Entering a male-dominated realm of welding torches and bomb bays, they learned to use tools that they had never seen before, live with aluminum shavings in their hair, and get along with supervisors and coworkers from all walks of life. They also learned that wearing their factory slacks on the street caused men to treat them in a way for which their "dignified schoolteacher-hood" hadn't prepared them. At times charming, hilarious, and incredibly perceptive, Slacks and Calluses brings into focus an overlooked part of the war effort, one that forever changed the way the women were viewed in America. Seller Inventory # BTE9781560983682

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 24.55
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

3.

Constance Bowman Reid
Published by Smithsonian Books (2004)
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)

Book Description Smithsonian Books, 2004. Condition: New. Clara Marie Allen (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M156098368X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 23.09
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.78
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

4.

Reid, Constance Bowman
Published by Smithsonian Books 2004-10-17 (2004)
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New Paperback Quantity Available: 20
Seller:
Ebooksweb
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Smithsonian Books 2004-10-17, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Smithsonian Institut. 156098368X. Seller Inventory # Z156098368XZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 68.81
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

5.

Reid, Constance Bowman
Published by Smithsonian Books
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Vital Products
(Southampton, PA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Smithsonian Books. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 156098368X. Seller Inventory # Z156098368XZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 70.36
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Seller Image

6.

Reid, Constance Bowman
Published by Smithsonian Books
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Mega Buzz
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Smithsonian Books. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 156098368X. Seller Inventory # Z156098368XZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 70.36
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

7.

Reid, Constance Bowman
Published by Smithsonian Books
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Qwestbooks
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Smithsonian Books. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 156098368X. Seller Inventory # Z156098368XZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 70.36
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

8.

Reid, Constance Bowman
Published by Smithsonian Books
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Best Bates
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Smithsonian Books. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 156098368X. Seller Inventory # Z156098368XZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 70.36
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

9.

Reid, Constance Bowman
Published by Smithsonian Books
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Booklot
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Smithsonian Books. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 156098368X. Seller Inventory # Z156098368XZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 70.36
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

10.

Constance Bowman Reid, Clara Marie Allen (Illustrator), Sandra M. Gilbert (Introduction)
Published by Smithsonian Books (2004)
ISBN 10: 156098368X ISBN 13: 9781560983682
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)

Book Description Smithsonian Books, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Smithsonian Institution Press. Seller Inventory # DADAX156098368X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 88.70
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book