National Press Club

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

November 12, 2003

About This Video

Run time: 60 minutes

Mr. Von Drehle was interviewed about his book, Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, published by Atlantic Monthly Press. He described the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911 in New York's Greenwich Village that killed 146 people. The book also describes the waves of Jewish and Italian immigration that inundated New York in the early years of the century, filling its slums and supplying its garment factories with cheap, mostly female, labor. It portrays the Dickensian work conditions that led to a massive waist-worker's strike in which an unlikely coalition of socialists, socialites, and suffragettes took on bosses, police, and magistrates. Von Drehle shows how popular revulsion at the Triangle catastrophe led to an unprecedented alliance between labor reformers and the pragmatic politicians of the Tammany Hall political machine.