This masterful study charts the extensive common ground and telling differences between two widely separated coal-mining communities: Lanarkshire, in the Clyde Valley of southwest Scotland, and the northern Illinois coalfield that became a prime destination for skilled Scottish migrant miners in the mid-nineteenth century. Challenging the prevailing exceptionalist paradigm of labor history, John Laslett examines the social, economic, and political context of each of these communities in generous detail. He traces the progressive heightening of class consciousness as the coal industry evolved from skilled hand labor to an increasingly mechanized extraction process and the escalating hostility between miners and mineowners as their interests split along class lines. Examining the rise of militant industrial unionism in both areas, Laslett provides a sophisticated explanation of the American and Scottish miners' divergent approaches to collectivist solutions. Based on a profound knowledge of both communities, Colliers across the Sea tells a compelling story of industrial transformation's human costs, of conflict and greed, and of democratic aspirations and community.
In 1901, Dr. Alfred Fournier committed an act both simple and revolutionary: he wrote ForOur Sons, When They Turn 18, a sexual and reproductive health treatise based on his clinical work at a leading Paris hospital. If this booklet aided adolescent understanding of health, it also encouraged reformers around the world to publish. By 1913, countless works on venereal disease prevention were available to adolescents.
During this period, authors wrestled with how to make still-developing scientific information available to a reader also in the process of maturing. What would convince a young person to avoid acting on desire? What norms should be employed in these arguments, when social and legal precedents warned against committing ideas about sex to print? How, in other words, could information about sex be made both decent and compelling? Health reformers struggled with these challenges as doctors' ability to diagnose diseases such as syphilis outpaced the production of medicines that could restore health. In this context, information represented the best and truest prophylactic. When publications were successful, from the perspective of information dissemination, they were translated and distributed worldwide.
What Adolescents Ought to Know explores the evolution of these printed materials—from a single tract, written by a medical researcher and given free to anyone, to a thriving commercial enterprise. It tells the story of how sex education moved from private conversation to purchased text in early twentieth-century America.