Green, James | Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago

In fact, events depicted in the book unfold chronologically that is very important to understand how the labor movement and anarchists developed their ideas, united their efforts and launched the organized struggle. At the same time, the author avoids making any close correlations or revelations concerning the Haymarket riot. Instead, the tone of the book is neutral that allows readers to make their own conclusions about causes and effects of the tragedy, whereas the author just attempts to remain behind the scene as a mere narrator of the story of the Haymarket bombing. The precise depiction of facts and events that preceded the bombing is very important because readers can understand the tension that existed at the moment of the bombing between workers and police as well as between workers and the ruling elite.

At the same time, the author takes a neutral position but he fails to conduct a broad socioeconomic analysis that could explain true reasons of the riot. In this regard, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that workers were in a desperate position because owners of plants exploited them severely and treated them as mere commodities. Conditions of work and life of workers were unbearable, whereas the police and the government served interests of the ruling elite controlled by owners of large plants, banks and other companies. In such a situation, the decision to disperse the crowd in the Haymarket was apparently erroneous but Green avoids making such a conclusion to maintain his neutral tone. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the decision to disperse the crowd was totally wrong because it provoked the aggression of the crowd. Workers perceived police officers as servants of large companies and plants’ owners. Therefore, the tragedy would occur, even if there were no bombing because workers came prepared to fight for their rights.

Thus, the book reveals important facts about the Haymarket riot in Chicago in 1886. However, the author avoids assessment of those events. Hence, readers have to make their own conclusions about the tragedy, while the author maintains a neutral tone.



Green, J., 2006, Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago. New York: Pantheon.