Review Detail

Young Adult Nonfiction 1953
Review of We Shall Not Be Moved
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Hali

I read We Shall Not Be Moved: The Womens Factory Strike of 1909 by Joan Dash. Although the information in this book about the Womens Factory Strike was adequate, I would only recommend it to people who only want a basic overview of this time in history and like just straight facts. I would only recommend Dashs book to this group of people because I personally was looking for something a little more complex, and found that this book was not what I had hoped for. I was looking for something more like Upton Sinclairs, The Jungle. Both books take place around the same time period, but I found Sinclairs book more interesting because he used the story of a fictional family to relay all of his information. In contrast, Dash gives her facts in a combination of ways: she gives straight facts, she conveys facts through quotes, and she has small anecdotes that set the scene before she gives her information. Dashs writing could also be improved.


            We Shall Not Be Moved is about the Womens factory strike of 1909 against the shirtwaist companies of the time. The womens factory strike of 1909 was the largest factory strike that had taken place in America at the time. The book gives a good overview of the struggle the workers had with the shirtwaist companies, and the terrible conditions they had been working in. There are also numerous quotes from women that were involved in the strike. This gives the reader a view of how the women actually thought and acted. The passion and determination of the women in the book was amazing. In one chapter Dash describes how through icy rains and record breaking cold the woman of the strike did what most of the men at the time would not have done, they kept the strike going, fighting for what they believed in. In the book it also talks about how it was not just factory women involved in the strike. There were college girls or girls from universities who came to help and also other women who wanted to contribute to the cause. After a long strike and many hardships some of the Companies began to go bankrupt and shut down. Finally many companies came to agreement with the strikers.


            The writing in this book, as I said before, is not as good as it could be. Dash puts many irrelevant pieces of information. An example of this would be when Dash is writing about Mary Dreier, a woman that, according to the author, was very important to the Factory Strike. Although she claims this, at first Dash does not support it with Dreiers accomplishments and contributions in the Factory Strike instead she talks about the womans love life, or lack there of. I realize that Dash is probably trying to humanize Dreier, and show how she was and was not different from other women, but she does not do a very good job blending this information with the rest of her information. An excerpt from this section of the book reads: The secret correspondence remained secret, along with Mary Driers poetry, mediocre poetry according to one historian, and then she never married, but then many of the woman reformers were unmarried. Not only is the information totally irrelevant to the factory strike it skips around. In this particular sentence Dash begins by saying that all of Mary Dreiers letters written to her sisters husband declaring her love for him remained a secret to her sister. Then Dash all of a sudden makes a comment on Dreiers poetry. This has not been mentioned before, and is neither said to have anything to do with the factory strike, nor is it mentioned again other than to tell the reader that ONE historian thought the poetry was mediocre. After her random (I can find no other word than that) statement about Dreiers poetry, Dash states that Dreier didnt get married and neither did most woman reformers. Later in the book Dash does mention Dreiers accomplishments in a sentence or two. Clearly this information is irrelevant to the Womans Factory Strike of 1909. It seems to me that Dash did an excellent job of researching the time period, the people from the time, and apparently their love lives and poetry, but either failed in the aspect of sorting out irrelevant information, or failed in the aspect of blending in background information.


            Dash is also very inconsistent in her writing. What I mean by this is in some parts of the book it seems like the information and simple sentences of the novel are aimed to an Elementary level. Other times sentences in the book, though not necessarily on the topic, can be quite eloquent. Here is a quote about the Yiddish language that I found eloquent: An expressive language, by turns humorous and deeply passionate, laced with irony, capable of high drama followed by homely proverbs, it has the power to call forth laughter as readily as tears, often both together. This sounds great, yet a few sentences before this same quote there are sentences that seem to be aimed to the Elementary level, and make this eloquent sentence sound foreign and thrown in the text for no reason.


            All in all, I would only recommend this to people who only want a basic overview of this time in history and like just straight facts. I didnt like reading the book very much; I found it boring and poorly written at times. If you do decide to read it I hope you enjoy it more than I.

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