Faces along the Bar by Madelon Powers
Lore and Order in the Workingman's Saloon, 1870-1920 (Historical Studies of Urban America)

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In this lively and engaging history, Madelon Powers recreates the daily life of the barroom, exploring what it was like to be a "regular" in the old-time saloon of pre-prohibition industrial America. Through an examination of saloongoers across America, her investigation offers a fascinating look at rich lore of the barroom—its many games, stories, songs, free lunch customs, and especially its elaborate system of drinking rituals that have been passed on for decades.

"A free-pouring blend of astonishing facts, folklore and firsthand period observations. . . . It's the rich details that'll inspire the casual reader to drink deep from this tap of knowledge."—Don Waller, USA Today recommended reading

"A surprise on every page."—Publishers Weekly

"Here we get social history that appreciates the bar talk even while dissecting its marvelous rituals."—Library Journal, starred review

"Careful scholarship with an anecdotal flair to please even the most sober of readers."—Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education


About Madelon Powers

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Powers is associate professor of history at the University of New Orleans.
Published August 15, 1998 by University of Chicago Press. 331 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

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The saloon, which began as a somewhat high-toned alternative to the usual tavern, drew in large crowds of workingmen (and some women, and even some children), who found inside the swinging doors a place to escape from daily hardships—and to cash paychecks and find a proverbial free lunch, that po...

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Publishers Weekly

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Fortunately, Powers persisted in her study of a subject long overlooked by others on the grounds that it is frivolous or immoral, and the result is a detailed and thoroughly researched yet readable account of ""how saloongoers promoted the process of community building in urban America from 1870 ...

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