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