Working Americans, 1880-1999: The Working Class (Working Americans: Volume 1) (Working Americans 1880-1999)

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9781891482816: Working Americans, 1880-1999: The Working Class (Working Americans: Volume 1) (Working Americans 1880-1999)
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Each of the volumes in the Working Americans 1880-1999 series focuses on a particular class of Americans, The Working Class, The Middle Class and The Upper Class over the last 120 years. Chapters in each volume focus on one decade and profile three to five families. Family Profiles include real data on Income & Job Descriptions, Selected Prices of the Times, Annual Income, Annual Budgets, Family Finances, Life at Work, Life at Home, Life in the Community, Working Conditions, Cost of Living, Amusements and much more. Each chapter also contains an Economic Profile with Average Wages of other Professions, a selection of Typical Pricing, Key Events & Inventions, News Profiles, Articles from Local Media and Illustrations. The Working Americans series captures the lifestyles of each of the classes from the last twelve decades, covers a vast array of occupations and ethnic backgrounds and travels the entire nation. These interesting and useful compilations of portraits of the American Working, Middle and Upper Classes during the last 120 years will be an important addition to any high school, public or academic library reference collection.

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From Booklist:

This set looks at what kind of work Americans did, the homes they lived in, the goods they bought, the entertainment they sought, and the society and history that shaped their world from 1880 to 1999. The well-organized books are designed to facilitate our understanding of the growth and development as well as the lifestyle and economic life of the working and middle classes over a century. Information to paint this picture was taken from government surveys, social worker histories, economic data, diaries and letters, and newspaper and magazine articles.

Each chapter in each volume covers a decade (except the first chapter, which encompasses 1880 to 1899), and each opens with an overview of important historical events to place the decade in time. Next, a "Family Profile" takes a representative but fictional family (e.g., "Italian Oyster Inspector from New York," "Life Insurance Agent from Nebraska") and examines the income, expenses, cost of living, selected prices of the time, amusements, life at home, life at work, and life in the community. Statistical data provided by a governmental study were often used as the basis for the profiles, fleshed out by extensive research into the times, professions, and geographic locations of the families, each of which was given a name. A "Historical Snapshot" for each decade--including advertisements, magazine covers, posters, campaign buttons, postcards, cartoons, and articles from local media--enriches the look and feel of the standard information provided. An "Economic Profile" provides statistical comparisons to put the family's life in perspective. Charts include income of standard jobs, selected prices, and sometimes commercial events and inventions. Some chapters also provide discussions of important issues faced by families, such as war.

Volume I: The Working Class offers 72 family profiles covering more than 25 ethnic groups and 34 occupations, from urban factory workers to homesteaders. Volume II: The Middle Class covers 32 occupations and many ethnic groups in 76 family profiles. A detailed table of contents in each volume provides clear guides to chapters and sections. Each volume also gives a lengthy list of source documents. The second volume offers a comprehensive index providing access to many more specific topics.

These interesting, unique compilations of economic and social facts, figures, and graphs will support multiple research needs. They will engage and enlighten patrons in high-school, public, and academic library collections. REVWR
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A unique study of the American working class between 1880 and 1999, when the country was shifting from an agrarian to an industrial economy, this ingenious volume uses detailed economic and social data such as income, expenses, and home environment to create a remarkably nuanced portrait of working-class family life during this time. Proceeding decade by decade, economist Derks (who edited The Value of the Dollar) examines 72 families of many different occupations and ethnic groups. In addition to drawing on a wide range of sources"e.g., newspaper and magazine articles, social workers! histories, family diaries, and letters"he provides evidence from the quantitative analyses of government surveys and economic data to create an appreciation of ordinary working-class Americans, showing us what people ate, read, listened to, and spent on everyday items such as hats or bread. The text is enhanced by news profiles, articles from local media, and illustrations of clippings from cereal boxes, postcards, posters, etc. A detailed table of contents and list of sources is included, but traditional footnotes are not. Overall, this volume engages and informs, contributing significantly and meaningfully to the historiography of the working class in America. It nicely complements Herbert G. Gutman!s Power and Culture: Essays on the American Working Class (New Pr., 1992) and Jerome M. Clubb & others The Process of Historical Inquiry: Everyday Lives of Working Americans (Columbia Univ., 1989). A compelling and well-organized contribution for those interested in social history and the complexities of working Americans. [Future volumes in this set will cover the middle class and the upper class."Ed.]"Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Lib., Long Beac.
-"Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Lib., Long Beach
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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