Coffey does a masterful job of situating Léon Harmel-his life, his work, his ideology-in the context of French political and social turmoil in the last third of the nineteenth century. More than a Catholic paternalist, Harmel created a model ‘earthly paradise’ for his workers, drawing on principles of utopian socialism to give labor control over the factory environment. Harmel’s effort to lay the groundwork for class conciliation drew praise even from leading Socialists, and his legacy continues in the contemporary world. Coffey’s extraordinary synthesis of scholarly works on social, gender, and labor history is as impressive as her original archival research, making this book an important resource for any historian of France or of social issues. Beautifully written, it is also a great pleasure to read. -Elinor Accampo, University of Southern California
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