Out of This Furnace

I first read Out of This Furnace my freshman year of college at UT San Antonio. The class was the very first one I took in the morning, an introduction to United States History. It has been around fifteen years since I took that class and I still have the book. Every so often I take it off my bookshelf, dust it off, and give it a read. I give it a more political look these days, as opposed to the historical take my old professor had in mind.

Americans are, for the most, hard working people and we must continue to move forward and always be vigilant of our rights as workers. We must strike that necessary balance between labor and business. I do believe that the rights of workers, as well as small business, the environment, and consumers need protection. I would hate to think of life in America without our unions. Maybe that is why I belong to one, The Association of Texas Professional Educators.

The following excerpt is from Wikipedia.

Out of This Furnace is an historical novel and the best-known work of the American writer Thomas Bell (1903–1961).

The novel is set in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a steel town just south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along the Monongahela River. It was first published in 1941 by Little, Brown and Company. Based upon Bell’s own family of Russian and Slovak immigrants, the story follows three generations of a family, starting with their migration in 1880 from Austria-Hungary to the United States, and finishing with World War II. The novel’s title refers to the central role of the steel mill in the family’s life and in the history of the Pittsburgh region.

Long out of print, the novel was rediscovered in the 1970s by David P. Demarest, Jr., a professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, who convinced director Frederick A. Hetzel at the University of Pittsburgh Press to reissue it in 1976. The book quickly became a regional bestseller. By the 1980s, however, it found an even larger readership on American college campuses. Out of This Furnace is regularly used as required reading in universities to introduce students to the history of immigration, industrialization, and the rise of trade unionism, as well as to the genre of the American working class novel.

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