Moran, William 1934-
MORAN, William 1934-
Born 1934, in Portland, ME; married; wife's name, Nancy; children: Lisa, Beth. Education: Boston University, B.A.
Home—Scarborough, ME, and Sarasota, FL. Office—c/o Author Mail, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.
Worked as reporter for Associated Press, covering events in New England, New York, and Washington, DC; producer and writer, Vermont Public Television; Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), New York, NY, writer and producer for CBS Evening News and CBS New Sunday Morning, 1974-99; writer.
Writers Guild of America award and Emmy Award, both for work at Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) News.
The Belles of New England: The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to New York Times, Washington Post, and Time.
William Moran became interested in the industrial history of New England while working as a television producer in New York City. During the long drives from New York to Maine he would view the abandoned textile mills in Massachusetts and wonder about the history behind them. After retiring from a distinguished career as a writer and producer for CBS Evening News and other shows, Moran embarked on a quest to write an accurate popular history of the mill towns and their inhabitants. The result of six years' work, The Belles of New England: The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove, was published in 2002.
The Belles of New England begins in 1814, when Francis Cabot Lowell opened a textile mill in Waltham, Massachusetts and recruited its workforce from among the farm women of the surrounding countryside. What begins as a promising enterprise to endow women with independence and income gradually turns into an environment of exploitation fueled by successive waves of poverty-stricken immigrants and the greed of those reaping the profits from the mills. In turn, the working women organize and unionize in the face of wage cuts and child labor. Moran traces the story of the mills to their demise in the twentieth century, when owners moved the work south in search of a non-unionized labor force. Although a wealth of scholarship exists on this topic, Moran sought to give his work a broader appeal to a readership interested in the way the New England textile industry reflects American business practices in general. A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt that The Belles of New England "reflects the larger America these factories helped to shape."
In her Booklist review of The Belles of New England, Danise Hoover praised Moran for "gracefully combining scholarly research with artful storytelling." Bonnie Collier in Library Journal likewise commended the book as "an excellent read, both gripping and informative." A Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded that the work provides "gimlet-eyed, ethically poised history: readers will have plenty to think about the next time they visit one of those prettily restored mill museums." A reviewer for the Harvard Book Store declared that Moran "brings a newsman's eye for the telling detail to this fascinating saga, which is equally compelling when dealing with rags and when dealing with riches."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 15, 2002, Danise Hoover, review of The Belles of New England: The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove, p. 185.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002, review of The Belles of New England, p. 937.
Library Journal, August, 2002, Bonnie Collier, review of The Belles of New England, p. 117.
Publishers Weekly, July 8, 2002, review of The Belles of New England, p. 42.
Harvard Book Store,http://www.harvard.com/ (June 11, 2003), review of The Belles of New England.*