‘Dust for Blood’ tells the story of L.I.’s labor camps of the 20th century


Before the manicured lawns with rows of capes, ranches and split-level homes, there were farms as far as the eye could see.

In the late 50s and early 60s, post-World War II Suffolk County, Long Island, was in transition from a rural corridor to a modern-day suburbia.

While in transition, the once-discreet migrant farming labor camps that stretched from western Suffolk through the Moriches and the Twin Forks made headlines across the U.S.

On October 8, 1961, a fire in one of the migrant camps would kill multiple people and draw attention to the horrific living conditions of these workers.

Author Mark Torres’ latest book “Long Island Migrant Labor Camps: Dust for Blood” (History Press, 2021) is the riveting, comprehensive and true story about Suffolk’s migrant labor camps.

The story dates from their inception during World War II, through their heyday in 1960, and culminates with their steady decline as the 20th century marched on.

This book provides a detailed account of the human suffering of the camps’ inhabitants; the cause and effect of these camps; and the factors which led to their eventual decline.

But the book also highlights the heroic efforts of special individuals who, in their own unique way, were outspoken critics of the deplorable conditions of these camps. These people fought to improve the lots of Long Island’s migrant workers.

The book is available March 22 on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. 

Author Mark Torres is a labor and employment attorney who represents thousands of unionized workers and their families throughout the greater New York area. Mark has a law degree from Fordham University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in history from New York University. Additional books authored by Mark include “A Stirring in the North Fork” (2015) and “Adeline” (2019), both available on Amazon, and a labor union related children’s book entitled “Good Guy Jake” (Hard Ball Press, 2017).