Excerpts from book reviews of Hot Metal: Material Culture & Tangible Labour


“Jesse Adams Stein combines meticulous and imaginative research with sophisticated analysis to produce a highly original, engaging and illuminating account of the final decades of an Australian state enterprise. … The originality of Stein’s approach lies in integrating labour history themes related to changing labour processes and technologies, sexual divisions of labour and workplace cultures with a systematic analysis of space and material objects.”
Professor Rae Frances, Review of Hot Metal in Labour History, no. 112, 2017, pp. 218-220.


“This inventive book about new approaches to material culture and labour history is a remarkable intervention in the field of design history. It will, I am confident, incite future scholars to investigate the people, spaces and objects that define and complicate the world of work.”
Associate Professor David Brody, review of Hot Metal in the Journal of Design History, vol. 30, no. 4, 2017, pp. 427-29.


“This original and cross-disciplinary book brings together design, design history, oral history, labour history, gender and material culture studies. It sheds a powerful light on the transformation and loss of blue-collar work and the demise of printing as a craft.”
Professor Paul Ashton, review of Hot Metal in U-Mag, UTS, April 2017


“The author has found a way to bring a new approach to contribute to a well ploughed field. She succeeds admirably. … It is at once a study of people and their relationship to technology, and a record of a period of history that is usually treated from quite different perspectives. It shows us how labour history can lead the way that history is written. In that, it is pathbreaking and important. This a terrific story. It is a critical reflection on the mistakes of economic rationalism, and the losses from deindustrialisation without becoming only a story of loss with nostalgia for a golden era. Its findings are salutary.”
Professor Diane Kirkby, review of Hot Metal in Recorder, April 2017


“… with a flair all its own, this is a riveting and accessible exploration of lost printing and trade cultures, and the shot from all sides transformation of blue-collar work. … This is a book that easily attains the kind of conversational and open-handed warmness of ethnography without explicitly aspiring to, full of colour and detail without ever losing the supple threads of argument being pursued.”
Alex Griffin, University of Melbourne, Media International Australia, 2018


“I found Hot Metal to be an exemplar of social value documentation. … Such in-depth documentation of social value is rare in Australian heritage practice, where historical, architectural and archaeological values are typically privileged over ‘social or spiritual’ significance – for both pragmatic and financial reasons.”
Steve Brown, review of Hot Metal in Oral History Australia Journal 39 (2017)