The White Hart Speaker Series is presented in collaboration with The White Hart Inn, Scoville Memorial Library and Oblong Books and Music
“The Edge of Anarchy” which tells the dramatic story of the explosive 1894 clash of industry, labor, and government that shook the nation and marked a turning point for America.
Many of the themes of “The Edge of Anarchy” could be taken from today’s headlines―upheaval in America’s industrial heartland, wage stagnation, breakneck technological change, and festering conflict over race, immigration, and inequality. “The Edge of Anarchy” offers a vivid account of the greatest uprising of working people in American history. At the pinnacle of the Gilded Age, a boycott of Pullman sleeping cars by hundreds of thousands of railroad employees brought commerce to a standstill across much of the country. Famine threatened, riots broke out along the rail lines. Soon the U.S. Army was on the march and gunfire rang from the streets of major cities.
This epochal tale offers fascinating portraits of two iconic characters of the age. George Pullman, who amassed a fortune by making train travel a pleasure, thought the model town that he built for his workers would erase urban squalor, and Eugene Debs, founder of the nation’s first industrial union, who was determined to wrench power away from the reigning plutocrats.