Working Families takes the reader onto the streets of Montreal and into the homes of its working-class families during the years that it became a major, industrial city. Between the 1860s and 1890s the expansion of wage labour changed the bases of family survival. It offered new possibilities and created new points of tension within the families of the emerging working class. Here we meet the men, youth, and children who worked for wages. We see the women who stayed home with their young, cooked and sewed, planted gardens and tended animals, stretching their often meagre family wages into goods and services for survival. We also see the ingenuity and agony of women whose husbands lost their jobs, fell ill, drank up their wages, deserted their families, or died.Working Families explores the complex variety of responses of working-class families to their new lives within industrial capitalist society, and offers new ways of looking at the industrial revolution in Canada.
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