The Archaeology of American Labor and Working-Class Life

Paul A. Shackel

Foreword by Michael S. Nassaney
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"Shackel provides a compelling account of how an archaeology of working-class life can correct and enrich historical knowledge and improve public understanding of the American industrial experience."--Dean J. Saitta, University of Denver

"A thorough, well-written overview of the issues confronting an archaeology of labor and the contributions historical archaeologists have made in addressing those issues. I would strongly recommend this book for anyone teaching historical archaeology or labor history at the university level."--Stephen A. Mrozowski, University of Massachusetts

The winners write history. Thus, it is no surprise that the story of American industrialization is dominated by tales of unbridled technical and social progress. What happens, though, when we take a closer look at the archaeological record? That is the focus of Paul Shackel's new book, which examines labor and working-class life in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century industrial America.

Shackel offers an overview of a number of ongoing archaeology projects that are focused on reconstructing the capital-labor relations of the past. He demonstrates that worker unrest has been a constant feature of industrialization, as the fight for fair wages and decent working conditions has been a continual one. He shows how workers resisted conditions through sabotage and how new immigrants dealt with daily life in company housing; he even reveals important information about conditions in strike camps.

Paul A. Shackel is professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Heritage Resource Studies at the University of Maryland. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Myth, Memory, and the Making of the American Landscape.

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"With the publication of this book, Shackel has cemented his place as one of the most important scholars of American labor from an anthropological perspective. Provides a comprehensive, easy-to-read and impressively understandable overview of an important topic within historical archaeology."
--Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology

"A welcome addition to the literature of archaeological interpretation."
--Journal of Anthropological Research vol. 66

"An excellent introduction to the archaeology of American industrialism, and how the development of this mode of production so deeply impacted the lives of so many."
--Northeast Historical Archaeology

"An accessible, engaging, and informative overview of U.S. labor history with numerous material examples." … "Even readers with no existing passion for historical archaeology should enjoy it; it amply demonstrates the contributions of the archaeological record without getting bogged down in specialized methods or language."
--Anthropology of Work Review

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