Confronting Decline
The Political Economy of Deindustrialization in Twentieth-Century New England

David Koistinen

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"Koistinen puts the ‘political’ back in political economy in this fascinating account of New England’s twentieth-century industrial erosion. First-rate research and sound judgments make this study essential reading."--Philip Scranton, Rutgers University--Camden

"Well-organized and clearly written, Confronting Decline looks at one community to understand a process that has become truly national."--David Stebenne, Ohio State University

"Koistinen’s important book makes clear that many industrial cities and regions began to decline as early as the 1920s."--Alan Brinkley, Columbia University

"Sheds new light on a complex system of enterprise that sometimes blurs, and occasionally overrides, the distinctions of private and public, as well as those of locality, state, region, and nation. In so doing, it extends and deepens the insights of previous scholars of the American political economy."--Robert M. Collins, University of Missouri

The rise of the United States to a position of global leadership and power rested initially on the outcome of the Industrial Revolution. Yet as early as the 1920s, important American industries were in decline in the places where they had originally flourished.

The decline of traditional manufacturing--deindustrialization--has been one of the most significant aspects of the restructuring of the American economy. In this volume, David Koistinen examines the demise of the textile industry in New England from the 1920s through the 1980s to better understand the impact of industrial decline. Focusing on policy responses to deindustrialization at the state, regional, and federal levels, he offers an in-depth look at the process of industrial decline over time and shows how this pattern repeats itself throughout the country and the world.

David Koistinen is associate professor of history at William Paterson University.
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A thorough, readable discussion of 20th-century deindustrialization.

Koistinen challenges commonly held ideas about when and where deindustrialization began, and argues that contemporary responses to industrial decline have a much longer history than scholars have recognized.

Koistinen superbly demonstrates that efforts by public and private groups to counter de-industrialization had little, if any, impact… this book, therefore, is an important contribution to the literature on the political economy of de-industrialization, a topic that continues to recur as industries rise and decline.
--Economic History Review

This book is a welcome addition to the literature of deindustrialization, and I advise anyone interested in the current political debate regarding a revival of U.S. manufacturing to read it.
--The New England Quarterly

A short review cannot do justice to the wealth of information and breadth of research Koistinen marshals in this case study.
--Journal of Economic History

Confronting Decline is a valuable contribution to a historiography that will grow increasingly relevant as globalization and deindustrialization continue to reshape the American economy in the twenty-first century.
--The Journal of American History

David Koistinen reminds us that New England was in the forefront of both the Industrial Revolution and the plant closings of the twentieth century.
--Labor Studies Journal

Deserves a wide readership for the author’s attention to the politics of deindustrialization.
--American Historical Review

An important contribution to the literature on deindustrialization. [Koistinen] reminds us, first, that history continues far beyond the drama of plant closings, and . . . that looking through a longer lens allows us to view important connections that had remained hidden. -- Second, as scholars are increasingly exploring firms and the larger business community as historical actors, he demonstrates the power of a political economic analysis.
--Journal of American Studies

A tightly and clearly developed history of deindustrialization in twentieth century Massachusetts.
--Historical Journal of Massachusetts

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