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Steeltown U.S.A.: Work and Memory in Youngstown
Sherry Lee Linkon and John Russo
University Press of Kansas
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Date Listed:
2011-06-21 18:04:44
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Untitled Document

Steeltown U.S.A.

Work and Memory in Youngstown

By Sherry Lee Linkon and John Russo.

Softcover, 5.5 x 8.4, 288 pages, 37 photos, 1 map. 2003.

"Once the symbol of a robust steel industry and blue-collar economy, Youngstown, Ohio, and its famous Jeannette Blast Furnace have become key icons in the tragic tale of American deindustrialization. The authors examine the inevitable tension between those discordant visions, which continue to exert great power over Steeltown's citizens as they struggle to redefine their lives.

"When "the Jenny" was shut down in 1978, 50,000 Youngstown workers lost their jobs, cutting the heart out of the local economy. Even as the community organized a nationally recognized effort to save the mills, the city was rocked by economic devastation, runaway crime, and mob scandal, problems that persist twenty-five years later. In the midst of these struggles the Jenny remained standing as a proud symbol of the community's glory days, still a dominant force in the construction of both individual and collective identities in Youngstown.

"Focusing on stories and images that both reflect and perpetuate how Youngstown understands itself as a community, Sherry Lee Linkon and John Russo have forged a historical and cultural study of the relationship between community, memory, work, and conflict. Drawing on written texts, visual images, sculptures, films, songs, and interviews with people who have lived and worked in Youngstown, the authors show the importance of memory in forming the collective identity of a place.

"SHERRY LEE LINKON and JOHN RUSSO are the cofounders and codirectors of the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University, where Linkon is professor of English and coordinator of American studies and Russo is professor of labor studies and coordinator of the labor studies program."