The Gritty Berkshires: A People's History from the Hoosac Tunnel to Mass MoCA

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Product Details
White River Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 1.44 inches | 2.08 pounds

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About the Author
Maynard Seider is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (formerly North Adams State College), where he taught 1978-2010.

"The Gritty Berkshires is a truly gritty history--highlighting the community's life and struggles from the ground up, and refusing to romanticize either the past or the present. From North Berkshire's roots in the 19th century to contemporary struggles around disinvestment, this book paints a complex portrait of those who really built the area, and what neglect and ignorance of that history means to all of us. We come to appreciate both the militancy and resilience of the workers, and the all-too-frequent denial of reality on the part of the powerful. The Gritty Berkshires offers the best of local history, rich with photos and personal stories, yet located within a larger national context."

- Martha Ackelsberg, William R. Kenan Jr., Professor of Government and the Study of Women and Gender, emerita, Smith College

"Draw a line a few degrees east of north from New York City and then another a few degrees north of west from Boston. The lines intersect in the northern Berkshires, where high culture and big money go out to play. And now, the rest of the story: the tales of the miners who dug a nearly five-mile-long tunnel through the Hoosac Mountain that made North Adams a transit hub for its 19th-century textile mills and shoe factories. As well, Maynard Seider tells the stories of the electronics workers who made the area a hotbed of mid 20th-century industrial technology. This is social history from the bottom up and a cautionary tale about economic development schemes . . . . MASS MoCA . . . may be a nice amenity, but the costs of deindustrialization are not so easy to wish away. Maynard Seider has written clearly, and documented fully, the story of the Berkshires that lies behind the white tablecloths of the lovely inns so prized by metropolitan sophisticates."

- Robert J.S. Ross, PhD, Research Professor of Sociology, Clark University; President, Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium; and author, Slaves to Fashion: Poverty and Abuse in the New Sweatshops