Andrew Arnold’s Fueling the Gilded Age explores the struggles for managerial control and economic power that erupted among coal miners, coal operators, and railroad executives in central Pennsylvania between 1872 and 1902. Rather than presenting an unassailable triumph of the railroads’ interests over labor, Arnold argues that the “coal industry deﬁed order” (p. 3) and laborers exhibited “unexpected agency ” (p. 4, emphasis in original) by thwarting the plans of railroad executives to impose managerial capitalism from the top down. Instead, wage earners “refused to accept their designated fate as commodities” (p. 222) and thereby exerted inﬂuence on the institutional order of the Gilded Age. Ultimately, Arnold argues that this disorderly process of improvisation and compromise demonstrates the “impact of evolving labor unionism and the limitations of managerial capitalism” (p. 231).
Laura Phillips Sawyer,
Andrew B. Arnold's Fueling the Gilded Age: Railroads, Miners, and Disorder in Pennsylvania Coal Country
, 16 Enter. & Soc'y 738
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/1360