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Sloss Furnaces and the Rise of the Birmingham District, Sloss Furnaces and the Rise of the Birmingham District, 0817307087, 0-8173-0708-7, 978-0-8173-0708-0, 9780817307080, , History of American Science and Technology, Sloss Furnaces and the Rise of the Birmingham District, 0817356681, 0-8173-5668-1, 978-0-8173-5668-2, 9780817356682, , History of American Science and Technology, Sloss Furnaces and the Rise of the Birmingham District, 0817385614, 0-8173-8561-4, 978-0-8173-8561-3, 9780817385613, , History o

Sloss Furnaces and the Rise of the Birmingham District
An Industrial Epic
W. David Lewis

Quality Paper
2011. 672 pp.
29 illustrations / 4 maps
Price:  $59.95 s
E Book
672 pp.
Price:  $59.95 d

This pathbreaking book tells the dramatic story of a unique manufacturing complex and the city that it helped to create. The events recounted and  interpreted by W. David Lewis are of more than local or regional significance. The rise of Sloss furnaces and Birmingham epitomized the emergence of the United States as the world's foremost economic power.  Similarly, the closing of a once-profitable ironmaking installation amid social and technological changes that convulsed Birmingham nine decades after the city's founding typified challenges that were facing America at the dawn of the postindustrial age.
Above all,  Sloss Furnaces resonates with the class of competition and the frenetic energy with which southerners joined other Americans in a rush to transform a continent after a fratricidal drive for independence had failed. The sweeping narrative that Lewis has produced amply justifies its subtitle, An Industrial Epic.



W. David Lewis was a Distinguished University Professor at Auburn University; now deceased.

“David Lewis has produced a masterpiece in his Sloss Furnaces . . . which deserves to be ranked with such seminal and influential works as Cash’s Mind of the South.” – Edwin T. Layton, University of Minnesota

“In his study of Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company of Alabama, W. David Lewis brilliantly combines an expertise on iron and steel technology and industrial economics with a lively appreciation for purely human factors. . . .Impeccably researched, Sloss Furnaces is an exciting and convincing work destined to alter our understanding of the southern industrial economy after the Civil War and beyond.” – Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida

“The ‘whys’ of Birmingham’s story—the tale of a place of great potential that never really reached its potential—is well told in Lewis’s sweeping historical reconstruction of the region, its industrial base, labor force, political and economic institutions, and more. The book reflects the history of technology at its best, interweaving an array of themes and topics all interconnected with a relatively peripheral manufacturer of pig iron, the Sloss Furnaces company and its successors. . . . The past is indeed seamless and Lewis has written far more than a history of technology, as he approaches the limits of holistic history. . . . [This is] a book of uncommon power.”—American Historical Review

“David Lewis’s book is a pleasure. . . . He places Sloss’s history in a rich context – personal, historical, economic, even geologic. Reading Sloss Furnaces is a good liberal education.” – Robert J. Norrell, Director, Center for Southern History and Culture, The University of Alabama

“A superb study.”—CHOICE

“This is a study that makes important contributions to southern history, economic history, and the history of technology. . . . Lewis links the history of Sloss to larger issues of concern for a wide range of scholars. . . . A major contribution to rethinking the history of the industrial south.” – Gary Kulik, Smithsonian Institution

Also of Interest

Iron and Steel
James R. Bennett and Karen R. Utz

Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama
Ethel Armes

Alabama Blast Furnaces
Joseph H. Woodward, with an introduction by James R. Bennett

Technical Knowledge in American Culture
Edited by Hamilton Cravens, Alan I Marcus, and David M. Katzman