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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Taylor Roberts <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 1 Nov 1996 17:12:56 EST
text/plain (75 lines)
The Mark Twain Forum needs a reviewer for the following book:

     Gregg Andrews.  _City of Dust: A Cement Company Town in the Land of
     Tom Sawyer_.  Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press,
     1996.  Pp. xii + 360.  Cloth, 6-1/4" x 9-1/2".  Bibliography,
     index, illustrations.  $42.50.  ISBN 0-8262-1074-0.

The blurb on the jacket reads:

     Mark Twain's boyhood home of Hannibal, Missouri, often brings to
     mind romanticized images of Twain's fictional characters Huck Finn
     or Tom Sawyer exploring caves and fishing from the banks of the
     Mississippi River.  In _City of Dust_, Gregg Andrews tells another
     story of the Hannibal area, the very real story of the exploitation
     and eventual destruction of Ilasco, Missouri.

     In 1901, the Atlas Portland Cement Company built a cement plant
     outside Hannibal.  Shortly thereafter, Ilasco, whose name was an
     acronym for cement manufacturing ingredients, quickly developed as
     a town for the plant's predominantly immigrant labor force.  The
     introduction of Rumanian, Slovak, Italian, and Hungarian immigrants
     into this agricultural area located next to Tom Sawyer's cave on
     the edge of Little Dixie created cultural and social tensions.
     These tensions peaked during a 1910 strike when Governor Herbert S.
     Hadley ordered the Missouri National Guard to occupy the "foreign

     Following the strike, Atlas sought to control its labor force by
     controlling the saloons, other businesses, and real estate of
     Ilasco.  Atlas officials and Hannibal community leaders also sought
     to legitimize the company's presence by portraying it as the
     caretaker of Twain's boyhood home and historic heritage.

     Atlas steadily gained control over Ilasco properties and increased
     its influence in the Hannibal area.  Soon the company had the power
     to determine Ilasco's future.  Ultimately, Atlas officials,
     Missouri highway officials, and local business leaders promoting
     the growing Mark Twain tourist industry closed ranks to relocate
     scenic Highway 79 through the heart of Ilasco, effectively
     destroying the town.

     _City of Dust_ weaves together labor, social, business,
     immigration, and environmental history.  Andrews's thorough
     treatment of the subject places Ilasco in a larger regional and
     national context and increases our understanding of
     deindustrialization in twentieth-century America.

     About the author: Born in Hannibal, Missouri, Gregg Andrews grew up
     in Monkey Run, a "suburb" of Ilasco.  An Associate Professor of
     History at Southwest Texas State University, Andrews is the author
     of _Shoulder to Shoulder?  The American Federation of Labor, the
     United States, and the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1924_.

As usual, the review must be of publishable quality, and it would be due
within two months of your receipt of the book (i.e., due mid-January
1997).  The deadline is particularly important, as we are making every
effort for Forum reviews to appear before print reviews.  If you are
inclined to procrastinate, please don't offer to review the book.

If you're interested in writing this review, please send me both your
home and institutional mailing addresses and phone numbers.  If I don't
already know you, it would be helpful for you to explain in what respect
you're qualified to write this review.  (If we haven't exchanged e-mail
recently, it might be a good idea for you to remind me of this info.)

If you'd like to see some sample MT Forum book reviews, they are
available at TwainWeb (the Forum's web page), at the following URL:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Taylor Roberts <[log in to unmask]>
Coordinator, Mark Twain Forum