Originally published in 1942, The Valley of Decision was an instant success, and its story of four generations of the Scott family—owners and operators of a Pittsburgh iron and steel works—has since captured the imagination of generations of readers. Absorbing and complex, it chronicles the family’s saga from the economic panic of 1873 through the dramatic rise of American industry and trade unionism, through waves of immigration, class conflict, natural disaster, World War I, and Pearl Harbor. In 1945 it was made into a major motion picture starring Greer Garson and Gregory Peck. This reissue features a new foreword by noted steel industry historian John Hoerr, author of And the Wolf Finally Came, who places the novel in context as a classic depiction of twentieth-century America.
Entwined with family histories, Marcia Davenport has re-created the industrialization of Pittsburgh from the post-Civil War era to the 1940s. Beginning with the Scottish steel barons to the Irish, Czech, and Slovak immigrants who fought for unionization, she shows what made Pittsburgh synonymous with steel, smog, and struggle. It feels like reality, not the alternate reality that fiction is presumed to be. Her characters are as real as the streets and neighborhoods she knows by name.
A magnificent novel about human beings who spring full-featured and living from its pages. . . . It is not too much to call The Valley of Decision a real American saga.
A vibrant and realistic novel of America . . . as strong, bright, and finely tempered as the steel of which it tells.
In the vast scope and crystalline detail of The Valley of Decision, Marcia Davenport has achieved a truly monumental work which never for one instant loses its quality of stirring human interest.