Monday, September 6, 2010

Five best books on the Progressive Era

Louise (Lucy) W. Knight's first book, Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2005), is about the first half of the life of Jane Addams.

Her second book, a full life biography of Addams entitled Jane Addams: Spirit in Action, is released by W. W. Norton this month.

For the Wall Street Journal, she named a five best list of first-person accounts of the Progressive Era. One title on the list:
All in the Day's Work
by Ida M. Tarbell, 1939

Remarkably, the first widely respected investigative journalist in the U.S., and the person credited with inventing the paper-trail school of journalism, was a woman. Ida Tarbell launched the approach with her 19 investigative articles (later expanded and published as "The History of Standard Oil Company") that helped to end John D. Rockefeller's oil-industry monopoly. Her passion stemmed from growing up in northwestern Pennsylvania: She writes of witnessing firsthand the suffering that Standard Oil brought to small businessmen, like her father, who worked in the oil business. The book is best at revealing her fair but dogged methods of "getting the facts."
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue