Even though the steel industry, and the steelworkers union, have been central to U.S. history, there are very few books on the topic, compared, for example, to the auto industry and the auto workers. The steelworker communities remain largely unexamined, there are few works of fiction, and the histories are scattered. There are, however, some excellent new web sites, as historians move—as we have—into the electronic age.


Thomas Bell. Out of this Furnace. (novel-1941)

David Brody. Steelworkers in America : The Non-Union Era (1970)

Robert R.R. Brooks. When Labor Organizes (1937)

Paul Clark (ed.) Forging A Union of Steel (1987)

Marcia Davenport. Valley of Decision (novel-1944)

Stanley L. Danilowski. House With A Porch (2003)

Kenneth Durr. Behind the Backlash: White Working-Class Politics in Baltimore, 1940-1980 (2003)

Edward Greer. Big Steel: Black Politics and Corporate Power in Gary, IN (1979)

John Herling. Right to Challenge (1972)

Herbert Hill. Divided We Stand: American Workers and the Struggle for Equality (2001)

John Hoerr. And The Wolf Finally Came: The Decline of the American Steel Industry (1988)

John McGrain. From Pig Iron to Cotton Duck: A History of Manufacturing Villages in Baltimore County . Volume I (1985)

John Lovis. The Blast Furnaces of Sparrows Point: 100 Years of Ironmaking on Chesapeake Bay (2006)

Jack Metzgar. Striking Steel: Solidarity Remembered (2000)

Ruth Needleman. Black Freedom Fighters: The Struggle For Democratic Unionism (2003)

Karen Olson. Wives of Steel (2005)

Richard Preston. American Steel: Hot Metal and the Resurrection of the Rust Belt (1991)

Mark Reutter: Sparrows Point: Making Steel The Rise and Ruin of American Steel Industry (2nd ed. 2004)

Judith Stein. Running Steel, Running America : Race, Economic Policy and the Decline of Liberalism. (1998)

John Strohmeyer. Crisis in Bethlehem: Big Steels Struggle to Survive (1986)

Robert Ward. Red Baker (novel—1986))

Linda Zeidman. "Sparrows Point, Dundalk, Highlandtown, Old West Baltimore: Home of Gold Dust and the Union Card" in The Baltimore Book: New Views of Local History (1991)

The Heat: Steelworker Lives and Legends (2001)


Struggles in Steel (Braddock Films)

One Voice: A History of Sparrows Point and The United Steelworkers Union

Partners: Bethlehem Steel and the United Steelworkers (Merrimack Films)

Rustbelt Phoenix: Saving The American Steel Industry (Merrimack Films)

Bethlehem Steel: The People Who Built America (Lehigh Valley PBS)

Forging America: An Interactive History of Bethlehem Steel (Allentown Morning Call)

Web Sites

Mark’ Reutter’s Making Steel

The Dundalk Eagle History of Sparrows Point

Heritage in Hampden—a local labor history project of Dave Gadsby

Labor Heritage—an inventory of Maryland union halls by Rob Chidester

The Library of Congress—American Memory—157 photos of the steel industry

The Rivers of Steel Heritage Area

The Youngstown, Ohio, Historical Center of Labor and Industry

Jill Harrison. "Obstacles to Social Movement Unionism: A Case Study of the United Steelworkers of America." (Ohio State University. 2004)

Nicole Radzievich. "From Park to Memorial," about the steelworker memorial in Bethlehem, PA. Allentown Morning Call. July 26, 2010.

Deborah Rudacille. Roots of Steel:Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town (2010)


Days of Steel: Songs From An Empty Steel Mill (Summer Tent Records)