Book Review on “Slacks and Calluses”

I need it entirely rewritten as I messed it up and accidentally submitted the review I used last semester for this semester Here is what they are asking for:
Each review must contain several specific components. Essential is the reviewer’s evaluation of the important aspects of the book/article(s). Reviewers should also include pertinent information about the author, such as his/her fields of specialization, professional contributions, and biographical data if it has affected the area of study. In reviewing monographs and biographies, the reviewer must explain how the author handled the sources. The reviewer must specify the extent to which the author’s conclusions flowed from the evidence considered and to what degree the author seemed to stretch the evidence to achieve a particular purpose. The reviewer must inform the readers whether the author used primary sources, such as diaries, letters, newspapers, company records, government documents, and interviews, or depended upon secondary works, such as other authors’ books, for information. Also, readers of the reviews deserve to know how the author acknowledged sources, whether in footnotes, bibliography, or bibliographical essay. Each review shall inform readers whether the author organized the book chronologically or topically, clearly or vaguely, and on an elementary or profound level. It must indicate whether the author’s language was precise or obscure the report should indicate the nature of the book and its contents but do not attempt to reproduce the table of contents or the chapter headings. Certainly, you should evaluate–given the evidence–the weaknesses and merits of the volume. In particular, make clear what the author proposed todo in writing the book/article(s). In short, what is the gist or central argument of the work. An author should be judged–whether favorably or unfavorably–with regard to the book he actually wrote. Do not be overawed or hypercritical of the book, but read and review it critically and with an open mind

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In the book “Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory” by Constance Bowman Reid and Clara Marie Allen, they go over what life was like as a female to be working in a so called “man’s” environment. Because in that time period, women were seen to be as less suitable for male work, such as the factory, so they would become teachers, nurses, domestic laborers and much more. In this book, Reid and Allen, beforehand being teachers describe their personal stories on what is like to work in a bomber factory during the outbreak of WW2, mainly taking place in 1943 because they volunteered to see new horizons or job opportunities and to assist the war effort. They wanted change from the normal roles as a female during that time.

Now in an era where male chauvinism was the norm, there were many examples when Reid and Allen were patronized while working at the bomber factory. Right in the beginning in the introduction, it states that, “I do not allow women to work without hair coverings, announces the pompous foreman of our heroines’ unit…” (Reid and Allen 24-25). So, then continuing the quote, and as explained by Gilbert who did the introduction, Reid and Allen both saw this action as being against female workers, because in the work area, women must have their hair up, even if it is short, no matter what, but guys are fine. So, this shows inequality for women already in the bomber factory and Reid and Allen just arrived. Another example would be when it states, “It was bad enough to have clerks ignore us, to have the members of our own sex scorn us; but what really hurt was the attitude of men” (Reid and Allen 69). In this example, they both go to say that they are not even seen as women anymore so to speak. “In another way we were definitely women to them” (Reid and Allen 69). So, the men only saw them as other things, not real women because they wore dusty blue slacks, and were also called “sister” and “baby” in the most unbrotherly way and unfatherly way as it states.

This shows that women were patronized during their time at the bomber factory. They were not seen as women but rather equal to the working-class man who were the standard of society with not as much respect as the upper classes. Reid and Allen would continue to encounter these degrees of rude and crudeness during their time at the bomber factory but yet also make some friends along the way in which they try to help while they are there as each of these women have a troubling life. Now both Reid and Allen were professionals with college degrees and their time at the bomber factory was an adventure. That was not the case for some of the women who worked there as well that they met. For example, there was Lindy who was 18 working there said she dropped out of high school to get married to a nineteen-year-old who was now shipped out to war. However, she was divorced and is hoping to get back once he returns, so she is just working in order to gain money but now to obtain credits for high school because she wants her diploma. Then there is this girl named Emeline who worked with Allen in the bomb bay, she was there as it states, “had not finished school because there had not been enough children for a high school in the thinly populated area of New Mexico where she lived” (Reid and Allen 112). So, instead she helped her father build a cabin and states how she fenced the entire homestead, so she is working at the bomber factory. But she wants to learn English she says, and Reid said she would help her.

More women who they saw that were not working at the bomber factory as an “adventure” like them would be also Mary. Mary had to drop out of the ninth grade because her father passed and that left behind about a dozen children with a single mom. Then you have Nancy, who was married surprisingly as Reid puts it, married to another Swing Shift worker because you never saw anyone else, she as well wants her diploma but says she can’t because she has two kids. There is also Mattie, who as it states, “been a domestic servant before the war, had dropped out of tenth-grade because her step-father had felt that a girl of sixteen should be earning her own living” (Reid and Allen 113). Just like the other women, Mattie wants to go back for her diploma because she says she is too old. She was 26 but fine just working there at the Department 140-Radio. Then finally you have Peg who was from New Mexico who quit school the year before for the most common reason as it states. “She had come to California with her father and mother to get a war job” (Reid and Allen 114). Both Reid and Allen could see her being the one to go back for her diploma because she was young, unmarried and just a year out of high school.

Overall, I would say Reid and Allen gave a good insight to how it was to work inside a bomber factory just as a “volunteer” and an “little adventure” compared to others who were there for the entirety of the war as that was their lives. They went into great detail on how life inside of the factory was completely different when on the outside. When they were working inside, as stated they were treated terribly and whistled at and inappropriately touched as well. Yet on the weekends when they were not working, things went right back to normal to being respected and having acts of chivalry towards them such as holding the doors for them and treated like a woman should be. The book also shows and explains how not everyone there was just a volunteer as Reid and Allen also met and cared for other women who worked there as this was their job to provide. All of the women they met and were mentioned all had tragic pasts leading up to where they were now except the one as they moved due to the war and to assist in the effort. I would say that the book did a great job at focusing on how women were treated during their time working a “union” job in dirty slacks and getting dirty and then comparing that to how they were treated prior and afterwards. It shows that the workplace had no stereotypical treatment of the other gender but rather and equal environment where everyone had to work and outside, they were as stated treated like they were supposed to be.

So, I guess you could say that Reid and Allen had quite the experience over their two-week interval of working at the bomber factory in 1943. As we know, they encountered a lot of patronizing and what happened and how they felt about it, plus their actions towards it. They also met some other women who were working at the factory because of other reasons then theirs, which was for a new horizon or adventure, to change their views. These women had taken these jobs because they needed them to support themselves and all of them were high school dropouts so they could not go anywhere else, but all had reasons as to why they dropped. So, Reid and Allen in their book described the working environment and types of people on their adventure nicely and outgoingly by putting it straightforward along with personal encounters.

Page Break

Works Cited

Reid, Constance Bowman, and Clara Marie Allen. Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999.

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