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Like a Family

The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World

By Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, James L. Leloudis, Robert R. Korstad, Mary Murphy, Lu Ann Jones

With a new afterword by the authors; Foreword by Michael Frisch

544 pp., 6 x 9, 46 illus., 4 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4879-1
    Published: August 2000
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-8294-8
    Published: December 2012

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Awards & distinctions

1988 Albert J. Beveridge Award, American Historical Association

1988 History Book Award, Merit Award of Recognition, North Carolina Society of Historians

1988 Philip Taft Labor History Award

1988 Merle Curti History Award in American Social History, Organization of American Historians

Honorable Mention, 1988 John Hope Franklin Publication Prize, American Studies Association

Since its original publication in 1987, Like a Family has become a classic in the study of American labor history. Basing their research on a series of extraordinary interviews, letters, and articles from the trade press, the authors uncover the voices and experiences of workers in the Southern cotton mill industry during the 1920s and 1930s. Now with a new afterword, this edition stands as an invaluable contribution to American social history.

"The genius of Like a Family lies in its effortless integration of the history of the family--particularly women--into the history of the cotton-mill world."--Ira Berlin, New York Times Book Review

"Like a Family is history, folklore, and storytelling all rolled into one. It is a living, revelatory chronicle of life rarely observed by the academe. A powerhouse."--Studs Terkel

"Here is labor history in intensely human terms. Neither great impersonal forces nor deadening statistics are allowed to get in the way of people. If students of the New South want both the dimensions and the feel of life and labor in the textile industry, this book will be immensely satisfying."--Choice

About the Authors

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall is professor of history and director of the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, visit the Author Page.

Jim Leloudis is professor of history, associate dean for honors, and director of the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about James L. Leloudis, visit the Author Page.

Robert Korstad is associate professor of public policy studies and history at Duke University.
For more information about Robert R. Korstad, visit the Author Page.

Mary Murphy is professor of history at Montana State University.
For more information about Mary Murphy, visit the Author Page.

Lu Ann Jones is associate professor of history at the University of South Florida.
For more information about Lu Ann Jones, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"The genius of Like a Family lies in its effortless integration of the history of the family--particularly women--into the history of the cotton-mill world. . . . This eloquent reconstruction of the cotton mill world allows us to understand and to pay homage to those who fought and lost."--Ira Berlin, New York Times Book Review

"Like a Family is history, folklore, and storytelling all rolled into one. It is a living, revelatory chronicle of life rarely observed by the academe. A powerhouse."--Studs Terkel

"A work of scholarship that is both authoritative and most refreshingly undogmatic. . . . [The authors'] sympathies lie, as well they should, with the ordinary people whose labors made the mills run, but they have sufficient breadth of mind to understand that it takes all kinds to make a world, or a mill; as a result their story is populated not by heroes and villains, but by people."--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

"A superb history of work and workers' culture in southern Piedmont textile mill villages from the 1880s through the General Strike of 1934. In clear and compelling prose, the authors weave the threads of social, labor, family, business, and cultural history into a rich tapestry that reveals the human dimensions of regional economic transformations over half a century."--American Historical Review

"A warm, sensitive, richly textured analysis of the role of the family, and family culture, in the social changes that came in the wake of the industrialization of the Piedmont South. . . . A deeply moving book."--International Labor and Working Class History

"Like a Family is the most important study of southern cotton mill workers we have ever had."--Reviews in American History