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Smokestacks and Progressives

, 288 pages

7 halftones

November 2002



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Smokestacks and Progressives

Environmentalists, Engineers, and Air Quality in America, 1881–1951

In Smokestacks and Progressives, David Stradling explains the evolution of one of America's first environmental movements—the antismoke crusade of the early 1900s. The roots of modern environmentalism, Stradling explains, reach deep into the Victorian era, when early reformers connected beauty, health, and cleanliness with morality and demanded government assistance in maintaining all of them. Air quality became an important issue for middle-class residents in coal-dependent cities—how could a city without pure air, they asked, truly be clean, healthful, and moral? Eventually engineers came to the fore, displaced the reformers (many of them women) as leaders of the movement, and answered their own question—how to abate dirty air.

David Stradling is an assistant professor of history at the University of Cincinnati.

"This clearly written, well-argued, and deeply researched book goes well beyond 'smokestacks and progressives' in helping us understand the important environmental issues embedded in the history of the American city."

" Smokestacks and Progressives should change the way scholars understand the history of environmental activism."

"A clearly written and well-documented account."

"Stradling's... prose is pleasurable to read, his research broadens our grasp of the nation of cities, and the book provides a fascinating study of this neglected corner of urban Progressive reform."

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