A story of the growth of the
new South, To Make My Bread revolves around a family of Appalachian
mountaineers—small farmers, hunters, and moonshiners—driven
by economic conditions to the milltown and transformed into millhands,
strikers, and rebels against the established order. Recognized as one
of the major works on the Gastonia textile strike, Grace Lumpkin's novel
is also important for anyone interested in cultural or feminist history
as it deals with early generations of women radicals committed to addressing
the difficult connections of class and race. Suzanne Sowinska's introduction
looks at Lumpkin's volatile career and this book's critical reception.
Originally published in 1932
"[The book's] meaning
rises out of people in dramatic conflict with other people and with the
conditions of their life. . . . [Lumpkin] treats her theme with a craftsman's
and a psychologist's respect. The novel springs naturally from its author's
immersion in and personal knowledge of her absorbing subject material."
-- The New York Times
"Unpretentious . . .
written in a simple and matter-of-fact prose, and yet reading it has been
a more real, more satisfying experience than that which almost any other
recent work of fiction has given me. I cannot imagine how anyone could
read it and not be moved by it." -- The Nation
"A beautiful and sincere
novel, outstanding." -- The New Republic