The Belles of New England is a masterful, definitive, and eloquent look at the enormous cultural and economic impact on America of New England's textile mills. The author, an award-winning CBS producer, traces the history of American textile manufacturing back to the ingenuity of Francis Cabot Lodge. The early mills were an experiment in benevolent enlightened social responsibility on the part of the wealthy owners, who belonged to many of Boston's finest families. But the fledgling industry's ever-increasing profits were inextricably bound to the issues of slavery, immigration, and workers' rights.
William Moran brings a newsman's eye for the telling detail to this fascinating saga that is equally compelling when dealing with rags and when dealing with riches. In part a microcosm of America's social development during the period, The Belles of New England casts a new and finer light on this rich tapestry of vast wealth, greed, discrimination, and courage.