Organization of American Historians Willi Paul Adams Prize Winner
An American Family
The Great War and Corporate Culture in America
Ferdinando Fasce. Translated by Ian Harvey
216 pp. 6x9
$26.95 paper 978-0-8142-5100-3
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$69.95 cloth 978-0-8142-0908-0
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Originally published in Italian.
“Fasce details attempts by management to undermine immigrant workers’ ethnic identities and multi-ethnic working-class solidarity. The combination of an original use of company records and a thorough knowledge of U.S. historical literature, with a unique appreciation of immigrant workers’ background and social life inside and outside their workplace, makes An American Family a first-rate case study.” —Reviews in American History (Italian Edition)
“Fasce’s An American Family, in many ways, is a model of this type of case study. It results in a fluid account in which the reader finds both a good narrative and the opportunity to reflect on how national change plays itself out in a particular firm.”—Journal of American History (Italian Edition)
Fasce’s book examines the relationship between World War I war propaganda and government regulations, on the one hand, and business culture and immigration, on the other. This is a close case study of the Scovill Manufacturing Company of Waterbury, Connecticut, the largest brass manufacturer of the day. Fasce shows that government pressure and the need to stabilize its large immigrant workforce resulted in the company offering Americanization classes to its employees. He further examines how the success of World War I and resultant Wilsonian principles pitted workers against company management in a way that had never been seen before. Fasce argues that in many ways, World War I drove the organizational and cultural transition of the American industrial world toward systematic management.
Ferdinando Fasce is associate professor of American History at the University of Bologna.