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The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West by Ryan Dearinger

The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the... The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West Ryan Dearinger Oakland: University of California Press, xx +  pp., $. (cloth); $. (paper); $. (e-book) To nineteenth-century promoters of America’s canals and railroads, these technological achievements would propel the United States toward its Manifest Destiny. Ryan Dear- inger reminds us, however, that even as these internal improvements represented Amer- ican progress, they had their “underbelly.” Starting in  (with the opening of New York’s Erie Canal) and concluding shortly after  (with the completion of the trans- continental railroad), Dearinger’s The Filth of Progress “reckons with the violence and pain that permeated the lives of transportation workers, whether endured or inicted, using their experiences to reconsider canal and railroad progress as a realm of trauma and not merely one of triumph” (). Grueling and dangerous enterprises, transportation projects drew their workforces overwhelmingly from marginalized peoples: not only Irish and Chinese immigrants but also Mormon settlers. By focusing on both the “suffering” and “survival” () of these three groups, Dearinger hopes to challenge a triumphalist nar- rative of America’s westward expansion. Because Dearinger envisions a moving “transportation frontier,” his book pro- ceeds http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Labor Duke University Press

The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West by Ryan Dearinger

Labor , Volume 16 (1) – Mar 1, 2019

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Copyright
Copyright © 2019 Labor and Working-Class History Association
ISSN
1547-6715
eISSN
1558-1454
DOI
10.1215/15476715-7269386
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West Ryan Dearinger Oakland: University of California Press, xx +  pp., $. (cloth); $. (paper); $. (e-book) To nineteenth-century promoters of America’s canals and railroads, these technological achievements would propel the United States toward its Manifest Destiny. Ryan Dear- inger reminds us, however, that even as these internal improvements represented Amer- ican progress, they had their “underbelly.” Starting in  (with the opening of New York’s Erie Canal) and concluding shortly after  (with the completion of the trans- continental railroad), Dearinger’s The Filth of Progress “reckons with the violence and pain that permeated the lives of transportation workers, whether endured or inicted, using their experiences to reconsider canal and railroad progress as a realm of trauma and not merely one of triumph” (). Grueling and dangerous enterprises, transportation projects drew their workforces overwhelmingly from marginalized peoples: not only Irish and Chinese immigrants but also Mormon settlers. By focusing on both the “suffering” and “survival” () of these three groups, Dearinger hopes to challenge a triumphalist nar- rative of America’s westward expansion. Because Dearinger envisions a moving “transportation frontier,” his book pro- ceeds

Journal

LaborDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2019

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