Robert Coles

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 170

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[A] lot has happened in this country in the last century, as Milton Meltzer has shown in Bread—and Roses. The title comes from a poem by James Oppenheim, who saw mill girls in Lawrence, Massachusetts, picketing for higher wages and better working conditions. Their signs said, "We want bread and roses." They wanted the money their labor deserved, and the sense of dignity, too. Mr. Meltzer's book shows how hard and long American workers have struggled to achieve the power some of their unions now have. He relies heavily on quotations from both rich men and poor men. He is unsparing in the political and economic details he brings forth—so that at least those youths who read his book will know some of the less pleasant facts of the American labor movement's early history.

Robert Coles, in his review of "Bread—and Roses: The Struggle of American Labor, 1865–1915," in Book World—Chicago Tribune (© 1968 Postrib Corp.; reprinted by permission of the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post), January 21, 1968, p. 12.


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