“An excellent study of the brass workers of the Naugatuck Valley… weaves the views of participants and charts, statistics, and excellent photographs into a rich narrative. Recommended.”
“First its genius: I can think of no work, except perhaps Passing the Time in Ballymenone, that bring to bear so carefully and intimately the concerns and interpretations of the historian on the locality as it is perceived by its people; that is so sympathetic to that history and so grounded in the people’s vision itself… It moves community history in all the right directions and it offers a model for other such efforts… It is by far the most ambitious, and in many senses, the most successful such effort.”
—Ron Grele, director, Oral History Research Office, Columbia University.
“A truly unique and superb book, without equal in conveying the texture and reality of working class experiences and history… Captures the experiences of real people, their frustrations and hopes, with remarkable sensitivity. Surely one of the outstanding contributions to labor history over the past decade.”
—Gabriel Kolko, York University.”The most comprehensive social history of a city or region in 20th-century America yet to appear…great achievement in using oral history to explore work and community life in 20th-century America.”
—Gary Gerstle, Technology and Culture.
“Approaches history with an intense, direct focus on people…a special immediacy and humanity… Avoids both romanticism and oversimplification… The key to the success of the book is the enthusiastic participation of the people of the Naugatuck Valley — current and former workers and mill managers — whose satisfaction at the prospect of participating in the preservation of their own history increased their candor and made it easier for them to plumb the depths of their own memories to create a record that has been organized and presented in a form that makes it accessible to all.”
—Robert Asher, University of Connecticut, in Connecticut History.
“A fascinating book.”
“A remarkable book…we glimpse the vast sweep of American industrial history over the past one hundred and fifty years. There is really no other book available which covers so many different topics in American labor and social history… Of great interest not only to labor historians, but also historians of business, women, blacks, immigrants, technology and cities. As a supplemental text in a variety of American history courses ìit would be particularly valuable because it covers so many different topics in a clear and vivid fashion. Brass Valley will make a major contribution to our understanding of labor and community history. Even more important, it will stand as an eloquent and moving account of the lives and struggles of the thousands who have labored in the brass mills of Connecticut over the past century and a half.”
—Roy Rosenzweig, George Mason.
“A marvelous achievement!”
—Prof. Christopher H. Johnson, Wayne State University.
“A moving story of the lives and history of working people.”
“An important and beautiful book that belongs in every local library as well as in more specialized collections on urban history, urban planning, industrial work, and community life. This book is a landmark in American oral history. It is both fascinating and a great pleasure to read.”
—Dolores Hayden, Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA.
“For daring entrepreneurs and skilled workmen who combined to turn out a broad range of brass and related products, Brass Valley was the center of the American brass industry. The valley’s history illustrates what may happen to other industrial areas of the country as they face decline.”
—William Serrin, The New York Times.
“An important contribution to our understanding of the hardships, the struggles and diversity which have shaped the evolution of American industrial society. It is also a beautifully presented book, a pleasure to read and to browse in, and a tribute to the generations of workers whose lives it celebrates.”
—Prof. Peter Marris, UCLA.
“When our children go to school, they learn little about the people who work in factories and offices, their movements and their efforts for a better life. Brass Valley represents a new approach to history. It is an attempt to pass on that history from one group of workers to other workers. We, in the UAW, hope it will inspire hundreds of local unions, and other groups of working people, to do their own histories. Brass Valley can help all of us understand that our collective history holds the strength for us to face the challenges of the present and ones yet unknown of tomorrow!”
—E.W. “Ted” Barrett, Director, Region 9A UAW.
“One of the first and best of the local or regional historical studies of blue collar life.”
—Paul Buhle, Z Magazine, 1999