By Emma Griffin

ISBN-10: 0300151802

ISBN-13: 9780300151800

This awesome booklet seems at 1000's of autobiographies penned among 1760 and 1900 to supply an intimate firsthand account of ways the commercial Revolution was once skilled through the operating category. the economic Revolution introduced no longer easily distress and poverty. to the contrary, Griffin indicates the way it raised earning, more advantageous literacy, and provided intriguing possibilities for political motion. for lots of, this used to be a interval of recent, and lots more and plenty valued, sexual and cultural freedom.

This wealthy own account makes a speciality of the social effect of the economic Revolution, instead of its monetary and political histories. within the culture of best-selling books via Liza Picard, Judith Flanders, and Jerry White, Griffin will get lower than the surface of the interval and creates a solid of colourful characters, together with manufacturing unit employees, miners, shoemakers, carpenters, servants, and farm laborers.


“Liberty’s sunrise is a triumph, completed in fewer than 250 gracefully written pages. They persuasively purvey Griffin’s historic conviction. She is intimate together with her viewers, wooing it and teasing it alongside the way.”—Anthony Fletcher, instances Literary Supplement
(Anthony Fletcher instances Literary complement 2013-10-11)

“An admirably intimate and expansive revisionist history.”—Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

“A provocative study.”—The New Yorker
(The New Yorker)

“This is a courageous ebook that demanding situations permitted knowledge via providing a decidedly confident view of the effect of the commercial Revolution at the possibilities, freedoms and offerings on hand to the operating class.”—Pat Hudson, instances greater schooling Supplement
(Pat Hudson occasions better schooling complement 2013-08-01)

“Griffin’s crisp and obtainable prose rests on a starting place of scrupulous scholarship.”—Amanda Vickery, The father or mother (Amanda Vickery The mother or father 2013-12-28)

‘Griffin’s first-class heritage of writing by means of these born in poverty. . .shine[s] a mild on what operating males continued. . .and what they felt approximately it, of their personal words.’—Lesley McDowell, Sunday usher in (Lesley McDowell Sunday usher in 2014-03-23)

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Additional info for Liberty's Dawn: A People's History of the Industrial Revolution

Example text

They became teachers, preachers, poets, scientists, politicians: at some stage leaving behind their overalls and smocks and taking up a more comfortable job sitting down in the warm. For these men manual labour was effectively a life stage, rather than, as it was for most ordinary workers, a continuous state that lasted as long as their capacity to perform it. Then there is the uneven spread of records over the pre-­industrial and industrial eras. As we move back in time, fewer autobiographies survive, and those that exist become ever less concerned with temporal matters.

4 More recent academic judgements slot neatly into the same framework, providing a little more detail, illuminating the odd unexplored corner, but not, ultimately, disturbing the perceived wisdom. 8 At first blush, the autobiographies seem to amply confirm the historians’ grim assessments. Take William Dodd’s account of his life as a factory boy. 9 The long hours and unnatural posture at the spinning machines soon left him with seriously bowed knees. 10 The noxious smells, deafening machines, unnatural rhythms, extremes of heat and cold, and deformed bodies – all were recounted in careful detail.

But the autobiographers were not unremittingly cheerful and upbeat. Poverty, ill health, unemployment, low wages and suffering were themes they were only too ready to discuss. More generally we should never underestimate the seriousness of ill health in a society with little in the way of a safety net for those who fell upon hard times. John Buckmaster was learning to be a carpenter when he deserted his master and ran away to nearby Salisbury in search of a better future. indd 34 25/01/13 8:21 PM m e n at w o r k 35 workers found themselves unable to work, they were no better off than anyone else.

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Liberty's Dawn: A People's History of the Industrial Revolution by Emma Griffin

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