Popular Labor Books

30+ [Hand Picked] Popular Books On Labor

Discover the list of some best books written on Labor by popular award winning authors. These book on topic Labor highly popular among the readers worldwide.

3.2/5

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber

From bestselling writer David Graeber, a powerful argument against the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs, and their consequences. Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world? In the spring of 2013, David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative essay titled “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.” It went viral. After a million online views in s From bestselling writer David Graeber, a powerful argument against the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs, and their consequences. Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world? In the spring of 2013, David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative essay titled “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.” It went viral. After a million online views in seventeen different languages, people all over the world are still debating the answer. There are millions of people—HR consultants, communication coordinators, telemarketing researchers, corporate lawyers—whose jobs are useless, and, tragically, they know it. These people are caught in bullshit jobs. Graeber explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns, indicting among other villains a particular strain of finance capitalism that betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Keynes to Lincoln. Bullshit Jobs gives individuals, corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture. This book is for everyone who wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation.

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3/5

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older adults. These invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in RVs and modified vans, forming a growing community of nomads. Noma From the beet fields of North Dakota to the campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older adults. These invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in RVs and modified vans, forming a growing community of nomads. Nomadland tells a revelatory tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy—one which foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, it celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive, but have not given up hope.

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4.3/5

Coal River by Ellen Marie Wiseman

In this vibrant new historical novel, the acclaimed author of The Plum Tree and What She Left Behind explores one young woman's determination to put an end to child labor in a Pennsylvania mining town. As a child, Emma Malloy left isolated Coal River, Pennsylvania, vowing never to return. Now, orphaned and penniless at nineteen, she accepts a train ticket from her aunt and In this vibrant new historical novel, the acclaimed author of The Plum Tree and What She Left Behind explores one young woman's determination to put an end to child labor in a Pennsylvania mining town. As a child, Emma Malloy left isolated Coal River, Pennsylvania, vowing never to return. Now, orphaned and penniless at nineteen, she accepts a train ticket from her aunt and uncle and travels back to the rough-hewn community. Treated like a servant by her relatives, Emma works for free in the company store. There, miners and their impoverished families must pay inflated prices for food, clothing, and tools, while those who owe money are turned away to starve. Most heartrending of all are the breaker boys Emma sees around the village--young children who toil all day sorting coal amid treacherous machinery. Their soot-stained faces remind Emma of the little brother she lost long ago, and she begins leaving stolen food on families' doorsteps, and marking the miners' bills as paid. Though Emma's actions draw ire from the mine owner and police captain, they lead to an alliance with a charismatic miner who offers to help her expose the truth. And as the lines blur between what is legal and what is just, Emma must risk everything to follow her conscience. An emotional, compelling novel that rings with authenticity--Coal River is a deft and honest portrait of resilience in the face of hardship, and of the simple acts of courage that can change everything.

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3.5/5

Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America by Alissa Quart

One of TIME’s Best New Books to Read This Summer “Brilliant—a keen, elegantly written, and scorching account of the American family today. Through vivid stories, sharp analysis and wit, Quart anatomizes the middle class’s fall while also offering solutions and hope.”     — Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed Families today are squeezed on every side—from high child One of TIME’s Best New Books to Read This Summer “Brilliant—a keen, elegantly written, and scorching account of the American family today. Through vivid stories, sharp analysis and wit, Quart anatomizes the middle class’s fall while also offering solutions and hope.”     — Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed Families today are squeezed on every side—from high childcare costs and harsh employment policies to workplaces without paid family leave or even dependable and regular working hours. Many realize that attaining the standard of living their parents managed has become impossible. Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, examines the lives of many middle-class Americans who can now barely afford to raise children. Through gripping firsthand storytelling, Quart shows how our country has failed its families. Her subjects—from professors to lawyers to caregivers to nurses—have been wrung out by a system that doesn’t support them, and enriches only a tiny elite. Interlacing her own experience with close-up reporting on families that are just getting by, Quart reveals parenthood itself to be financially overwhelming, except for the wealthiest. She offers real solutions to these problems, including outlining necessary policy shifts, as well as detailing the DIY tactics some families are already putting into motion, and argues for the cultural reevaluation of parenthood and caregiving. Written in the spirit of Barbara Ehrenreich and Jennifer Senior, Squeezed is an eye-opening page-turner. Powerfully argued, deeply reported, and ultimately hopeful, it casts a bright, clarifying light on families struggling to thrive in an economy that holds too few options. It will make readers think differently about their lives and those of their neighbors.

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3.5/5

The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics by Dan Kaufman

For more than a century, Wisconsin has been known nationwide for its progressive ideas and government. It famously served as a "laboratory of democracy," a cradle of the labor and environmental movements, and birthplace of the Wisconsin Idea, which championed expertise in the service of the common good. But following a Republican sweep of the state’s government in 2010, Wi For more than a century, Wisconsin has been known nationwide for its progressive ideas and government. It famously served as a "laboratory of democracy," a cradle of the labor and environmental movements, and birthplace of the Wisconsin Idea, which championed expertise in the service of the common good. But following a Republican sweep of the state’s government in 2010, Wisconsin’s political heritage was overturned, and the state went Republican for the first time in three decades in the 2016 presidential election, elevating Donald J. Trump to the presidency. The Fall of Wisconsin is a deeply reported, searing account of how the state’s progressive tradition was undone and turned into a model for national conservatives bent on remaking the country. Dan Kaufman, a Wisconsin native who has been covering the story for several years, traces the history of progressivism that made Wisconsin so widely admired, from the work of celebrated politicians like Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette and Gaylord Nelson, to local traditions like Milwaukee’s “sewer socialism,” to the conservationist ideas of Aldo Leopold and the state’s Native American tribes. Kaufman reveals how the “divide-and-conquer” strategy of Governor Scott Walker and his allies pitted Wisconsin’s citizens against one another so powerful corporations and wealthy donors could effectively take control of state government. As a result, laws protecting voting rights, labor unions, the environment, and public education were rapidly dismantled. Neither sentimental nor despairing, Kaufman also chronicles the remarkable efforts of citizens who are fighting to reclaim Wisconsin’s progressive legacy against tremendous odds: Chris Taylor, a Democratic assemblywoman exposing the national conservative infrastructure, Mike Wiggins, the head of a Chippewa tribe battling an out-of-state mining company, and Randy Bryce, the ironworker whose long-shot challenge to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has galvanized national resistance to Trump.

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3.6/5

The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland by Dan Barry

In this haunting modern Dickensian story that is a literary tour de force, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Dan Barry chronicles a shameful case of exploitation and abuse in America’s heartland, involving a group of developmentally disabled men and the advocates who helped them find justice and reclaim their lives In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, a gro In this haunting modern Dickensian story that is a literary tour de force, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Dan Barry chronicles a shameful case of exploitation and abuse in America’s heartland, involving a group of developmentally disabled men and the advocates who helped them find justice and reclaim their lives In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, a group of intellectually disabled men, all from Texas, lived in a tired old schoolhouse. Every morning, well before dawn, they were bussed to a processing plant to eviscerate turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. From 1974 until 2009, the men lived in near servitude, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse—until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious government lawyer helped these men achieve their freedom. New York Times columnist Dan Barry reveals how these men in an Iowa schoolhouse remained nearly forgotten for more than three decades. Drawing on exhaustive interviews, he dives deeply into their lives, recording their memories and suffering, their tender moments of joy and persistent hopefulness—their endurance of harrowing circumstances. Barry explores why this small heartland town remained all but blind to the men’s plight, details how those responsible for such profound neglect justified their actions, and chronicles the lasting impact of a dramatic court case that has spurred advocates—as well as President Obama—to push for just pay and improved working conditions for people with disabilities. A luminous work of social justice, told with compassion and compelling detail, The Boys in the Bunkhouse is inspired storytelling and a clarion call for vigilance—an American tale that holds lasting reverberations for all of us.

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3.2/5

Riot. Strike. Riot.: The New Era of Uprisings by Joshua Clover

Ferguson. Tottenham. Clichy-Sous-Bois. Oakland. Within capital’s core, the riot looms increasingly large within the repertoire of struggles. Rather than inchoate spasms or immiserated absence of the revolutionary idea, this book locates the riot within longue durée of capitalist transformation: facts not failures. Just as the turn to the strike two centuries ago signaled r Ferguson. Tottenham. Clichy-Sous-Bois. Oakland. Within capital’s core, the riot looms increasingly large within the repertoire of struggles. Rather than inchoate spasms or immiserated absence of the revolutionary idea, this book locates the riot within longue durée of capitalist transformation: facts not failures. Just as the turn to the strike two centuries ago signaled recompositions of class and society, the return of the riot testifies to current possibilities of anticapitalist struggle, featuring radicalized struggle beyond the labor market. Following the post-1600 course “riot-strike-riot,” the book departs from lapsed models of party and revolution, showing how shifting global strategies to restore profitability since the 1970s must inevitably open onto “circulation struggles” which pass through riot, and whose horizon is the commune.

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3.8/5

Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice by Jessica Gordon Nembhard

In Collective Courage, Jessica Gordon Nembhard chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Not since W. E. B. Du Bois's 1907 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans has there been a full-length, nationwide study of African American cooperatives. Collective Courage extends that s In Collective Courage, Jessica Gordon Nembhard chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Not since W. E. B. Du Bois's 1907 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans has there been a full-length, nationwide study of African American cooperatives. Collective Courage extends that story into the twenty-first century. Many of the players are well known in the history of the African American experience: Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph and the Ladies' Auxiliary to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Jo Baker, George Schuyler and the Young Negroes' Co-operative League, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party. Adding the cooperative movement to Black history results in a retelling of the African American experience, with an increased understanding of African American collective economic agency and grassroots economic organizing. To tell the story, Gordon Nembhard uses a variety of newspapers, period magazines, and journals; co-ops' articles of incorporation, minutes from annual meetings, newsletters, budgets, and income statements; and scholarly books, memoirs, and biographies. These sources reveal the achievements and challenges of Black co-ops, collective economic action, and social entrepreneurship. Gordon Nembhard finds that African Americans, as well as other people of color and low-income people, have benefitted greatly from cooperative ownership and democratic economic participation throughout the nation's history.

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3.2/5

Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity by Micah Uetricht

The Chicago Teachers Union strike was the most important domestic labor struggle so far this century—and perhaps for the last forty years—and the strongest challenge to the conservative agenda for restructuring education, which advocates for more charter schools and tying teacher salaries to standardized testing, among other changes. The teachers took on the bipartisan, fre The Chicago Teachers Union strike was the most important domestic labor struggle so far this century—and perhaps for the last forty years—and the strongest challenge to the conservative agenda for restructuring education, which advocates for more charter schools and tying teacher salaries to standardized testing, among other changes. The teachers took on the bipartisan, free market school reform agenda that is currently exacerbating inequality in education and waging war on teachers' livelihoods. In the age of austerity, when the public sector is under attack, Chicago teachers fought back—and won. The strike was years in the making. Chicago teachers spent a long time building a grassroots movement to educate and organize the entire union membership. They stood up against hostile mayors, billionaire-backed reformers out to destroy unions, and even their own intransigent union leadership, to take militant action. The Chicago protest has become a model for how reforms to the school system can be led by teachers and communities. It offers inspiration for workers looking to create democratic, fighting unions. Strike for America is the story of this movement and how it triumphed in the defining struggle for workers today.

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4.3/5

On Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children's Rights by Monica Kulling , Felicita Sala (Illustrations)

Though eight-year-old Aidan and his friend Gussie want to go to school, like many other children in 1903, they work twelve hours, six days a week, at a cotton mill in Pennsylvania instead. So when the millworkers decide to go on strike, the two friends join the picket line. Maybe now life will change for them. But when a famous labor reformer named Mother Jones comes to he Though eight-year-old Aidan and his friend Gussie want to go to school, like many other children in 1903, they work twelve hours, six days a week, at a cotton mill in Pennsylvania instead. So when the millworkers decide to go on strike, the two friends join the picket line. Maybe now life will change for them. But when a famous labor reformer named Mother Jones comes to hear of the millworkers' demands, she tells them they need to do more than just strike. Troubled by all she had seen, Mother Jones wanted to end child labor. But what could she do? Why, organize a children's march and bring the message right to President Theodore Roosevelt at his summer home in Oyster Bay, of course!

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3.3/5

Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary by Louis Hyman

The untold history of the surprising origins of the "gig economy" --how deliberate decisions made by consultants and CEOs in the 50s and 60s upended the stability of the workplace and the lives of millions of working men and women in postwar America. Every working person in the United States asks the same question, how secure is my job? For a generation, roughly from 1945 t The untold history of the surprising origins of the "gig economy" --how deliberate decisions made by consultants and CEOs in the 50s and 60s upended the stability of the workplace and the lives of millions of working men and women in postwar America. Every working person in the United States asks the same question, how secure is my job? For a generation, roughly from 1945 to 1970, business and government leaders embraced a vision of an American workforce rooted in stability. But over the last fifty years, job security has cratered as the postwar institutions that insulated us from volatility--big unions, big corporations, powerful regulators--have been swept aside by a fervent belief in "the market." Temp tracks the surprising transformation of an ethos which favored long-term investment in work (and workers) to one promoting short-term returns. A series of deliberate decisions preceded the digital revolution and upended the longstanding understanding of what a corporation, or a factory, or a shop, was meant to do. Temp tells the story of the unmaking of American work through the experiences of those on the inside: consultants and executives, temps and office workers, line workers and migrant laborers. It begins in the sixties, with economists, consultants, business and policy leaders who began to shift the corporation from a provider of goods and services to one whose sole purpose was to maximize profit--an ideology that brought with it the risk-taking entrepreneur and the shareholder revolution and changed the very definition of a corporation. With Temp, Hyman explains one of the nation's most immediate crises. Uber are not the cause of insecurity and inequality in our country, and neither is the rest of the gig economy. The answer goes deeper than apps, further back than downsizing, and contests the most essential assumptions we have about how our businesses should work.

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5/5

The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power by Steve Fraser

A groundbreaking investigation of how and why, from the 18th century to the present day, American resistance to our ruling elites has vanished. From the American Revolution through the Civil Rights movement, Americans have long mobilized against political, social, and economic privilege. Hierarchies based on inheritance, wealth, and political preferment were treated as obno A groundbreaking investigation of how and why, from the 18th century to the present day, American resistance to our ruling elites has vanished. From the American Revolution through the Civil Rights movement, Americans have long mobilized against political, social, and economic privilege. Hierarchies based on inheritance, wealth, and political preferment were treated as obnoxious and a threat to democracy. Mass movements envisioned a new world supplanting dog-eat-dog capitalism. But over the last half-century that political will and cultural imagination have vanished. Why? THE AGE OF ACQUIESCENCE seeks to solve that mystery. Steve Fraser's account of national transformation brilliantly examines the rise of American capitalism, the visionary attempts to protect the democratic commonwealth, and the great surrender to today's delusional fables of freedom and the politics of fear. Effervescent and razorsharp, THE AGE OF ACQUIESCENCE will be one of the most provocative and talked-about books of the year.

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4.8/5

Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman's Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights by Mary Cronk Farrell

Fannie Sellins (1872–1919) lived during the Gilded Age of American Industrialization, when the Carnegies and Morgans wore jewels while their laborers wore rags. Fannie dreamed that America could achieve its ideals of equality and justice for all, and she sacrificed her life to help that dream come true. Fannie became a union activist, helping to create St. Louis, Missouri, Fannie Sellins (1872–1919) lived during the Gilded Age of American Industrialization, when the Carnegies and Morgans wore jewels while their laborers wore rags. Fannie dreamed that America could achieve its ideals of equality and justice for all, and she sacrificed her life to help that dream come true. Fannie became a union activist, helping to create St. Louis, Missouri, Local 67 of the United Garment Workers of America. She traveled the nation and eventually gave her life, calling for fair wages and decent working and living conditions for workers in both the garment and mining industries. Her accomplishments live on today. This book includes an index, glossary, a timeline of unions in the United States, and endnotes.

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3.9/5

Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes by Anne Elizabeth Moore

Unspeakable acts are committed on women's bodies under capitalism everyday. In Body Horror, Anne Elizabeth Moore explores the global toll of capitalism on women with thorough research, surprising humor, and ease—especially when examining her own experiences with disease and health care—to create a portrait of contemporary American culture that is gory and fascinating. Anne Unspeakable acts are committed on women's bodies under capitalism everyday. In Body Horror, Anne Elizabeth Moore explores the global toll of capitalism on women with thorough research, surprising humor, and ease—especially when examining her own experiences with disease and health care—to create a portrait of contemporary American culture that is gory and fascinating. Anne Elizabeth Moore is the author of Unmarketable and Cambodian Grrrl, co-editor and publisher of the now-defunct Punk Planet, a founding editor of Best American Comics, a Fulbright scholar, former UN Press Fellow, and USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow.

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3.2/5

In a Day's Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung

“When they know they can have some type of security, some kind of protection, then they’ll come forth. But it takes a lot. It takes a lot.” —Dolores Huerta, United Farm Workers co-founder Apple orchards in bucolic Washington state. Office parks in Southern California under cover of night. The home of an elderly man in Miami. These are some of the workplaces where female wor “When they know they can have some type of security, some kind of protection, then they’ll come forth. But it takes a lot. It takes a lot.” —Dolores Huerta, United Farm Workers co-founder Apple orchards in bucolic Washington state. Office parks in Southern California under cover of night. The home of an elderly man in Miami. These are some of the workplaces where female workers have suffered brutal sexual assault and shocking harassment at the hands of their employers, often with little or no official recourse. In this harrowing yet often inspiring tale, investigative journalist Bernice Yeung exposes the epidemic of sexual violence levied against women farmworkers, domestic workers, and janitorial workers and charts their quest for justice in the workplace. Yeung takes readers on a journey across the country, introducing us to women who came to America to escape grinding poverty only to encounter sexual violence in the United States. In a Day’s Work exposes the underbelly of economies filled with employers who take advantage of immigrant women’s need to earn a basic living. When these women find the courage to speak up, Yeung reveals, they are too often met by apathetic bosses and underresourced government agencies. But In a Day’s Work also tells a story of resistance, introducing a group of courageous allies who challenge dangerous and discriminatory workplace conditions alongside aggrieved workers—and win. Moving and inspiring, this book will change our understanding of the lives of immigrant women.

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4.8/5

There Is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America by Philip Dray

From an award-winning historian, a stirring (and timely) narrative history of American labor from the dawn of the industrial age to the present day. From the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, the first real factories in America, to the triumph of unions in the twentieth century and their waning influence today, the contest between labor and capital for their share o From an award-winning historian, a stirring (and timely) narrative history of American labor from the dawn of the industrial age to the present day. From the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, the first real factories in America, to the triumph of unions in the twentieth century and their waning influence today, the con­test between labor and capital for their share of American bounty has shaped our national experience. Philip Dray’s ambition is to show us the vital accomplishments of organized labor in that time and illuminate its central role in our social, political, economic, and cultural evolution. There Is Power in a Union is an epic, character-driven narrative that locates this struggle for security and dignity in all its various settings: on picket lines and in union halls, jails, assembly lines, corporate boardrooms, the courts, the halls of Congress, and the White House. The author demonstrates, viscerally and dramatically, the urgency of the fight for fairness and economic democracy—a struggle that remains especially urgent today, when ordinary Americans are so anxious and beset by eco­nomic woes.

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5/5

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity--a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised tha Reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity--a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6-$7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity--a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.

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3.1/5

Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice by Bill Fletcher Jr. , Fernando Gapasin

The U.S. trade union movement finds itself today on a global battlefield filled with landmines and littered with the bodies of various social movements and struggles. Candid, incisive, and accessible, "Solidarity Divided "is a critical examination of labor's current crisis and a plan for a bold new way forward into the twenty-first century. Bill Fletcher and Fernando Gapas The U.S. trade union movement finds itself today on a global battlefield filled with landmines and littered with the bodies of various social movements and struggles. Candid, incisive, and accessible, "Solidarity Divided "is a critical examination of labor's current crisis and a plan for a bold new way forward into the twenty-first century. Bill Fletcher and Fernando Gapasin, two longtime union insiders whose experiences as activists of color grant them a unique vantage on the problems now facing U.S. labor, offer a remarkable mix of vivid history and probing analysis. They chart changes in U.S. manufacturing, examine the onslaught of globalization, consider the influence of the environment on labor, and provide the first broad analysis of the fallout from the 2000 and 2004 elections on the U.S. labor movement. Ultimately calling for a wide-ranging reexamination of the ideological and structural underpinnings of today's labor movement, this is essential reading for understanding how the battle for social justice can be fought and won.

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4.8/5

Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class by Jefferson R. Cowie

An epic account of how middle-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the 1970s, this wide-ranging cultural and political history rewrites the 1970s as the crucial, pivotal era of our time. Jefferson Cowie’s edgy and incisive book—part political intrigue, part labor history, with large doses of American musical, film, and TV lore—makes new se An epic account of how middle-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the 1970s, this wide-ranging cultural and political history rewrites the 1970s as the crucial, pivotal era of our time. Jefferson Cowie’s edgy and incisive book—part political intrigue, part labor history, with large doses of American musical, film, and TV lore—makes new sense of the 1970s as a crucial and poorly understood transition from New Deal America (with its large, optimistic middle class) to the widening economic inequalities, poverty, and dampened expectations of the 1980s and into the present. Stayin’ Alive takes us from the factory floors of Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, to the Washington of Nixon, Ford, and Carter. Cowie also connects politics to culture, showing how the big screen and the jukebox can help us understand how America turned away from the radicalism of the 1960s and toward the patriotic promise of Ronald Reagan. Cowie makes unexpected connections between the secrets of the Nixon White House and the failings of George McGovern campaign; radicalism and the blue-collar backlash; the earthy twang of Merle Haggard’s country music and the falsetto highs of Saturday Night Fever. Like Jeff Perlstein’s acclaimed Nixonland, Stayin’ Alive moves beyond conventional understandings of the period and brilliantly plumbs it for insights into our current way of life.

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3.8/5

Working: People Talk about What They Do All Day and How They Feel about What They Do by Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel records the voices of America. Men and women from every walk of life talk to him, telling him of their likes and dislikes, fears, problems, and happinesses on the job. Once again, Terkel has created a rich and unique document that is as simple as conversation, but as subtle and heartfelt as the meaning of our lives.... In the first trade paperback edition of h Studs Terkel records the voices of America. Men and women from every walk of life talk to him, telling him of their likes and dislikes, fears, problems, and happinesses on the job. Once again, Terkel has created a rich and unique document that is as simple as conversation, but as subtle and heartfelt as the meaning of our lives.... In the first trade paperback edition of his national bestseller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel presents "the real American experience" (Chicago Daily News) -- "a magnificent book . . .. A work of art. To read it is to hear America talking." (Boston Globe)

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3.8/5

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair , Earl Lee (Foreword) , Kathleen DeGrave (Introduction)

For nearly a century, the original version of Upton Sinclair's classic novel has remained almost entirely unknown. When it was published in serial form in 1905, it was a full third longer than the censored, commercial edition published in book form the following year. That expurgated commercial edition edited out much of the ethnic flavor of the original, as well as some o For nearly a century, the original version of Upton Sinclair's classic novel has remained almost entirely unknown. When it was published in serial form in 1905, it was a full third longer than the censored, commercial edition published in book form the following year. That expurgated commercial edition edited out much of the ethnic flavor of the original, as well as some of the goriest descriptions of the meat-packing industry and much of Sinclair's most pointed social and political commentary. The text of this new edition is as it appeared in the original uncensored edition of 1905. It contains the full 36 chapters as originally published, rather than the 31 of the expurgated edition. A new foreword describes the discovery in the 1980s of the original edition and its subsequent suppression, and a new introduction places the novel in historical context by explaining the pattern of censorship in the shorter commercial edition.

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3.3/5

Why Unions Matter by Michael D. Yates

"A comprehensive, readable introduction to the history, structure, functioning, and yes, the problems of U.S. unions. For labor and political activists just coming on the scene or veterans looking for that missing overview, this is the best place to start." --Kim Moody, author of Workers in a Lean World With historical sidebars ranging from the Industrial Workers of the Worl "A comprehensive, readable introduction to the history, structure, functioning, and yes, the problems of U.S. unions. For labor and political activists just coming on the scene or veterans looking for that missing overview, this is the best place to start." --Kim Moody, author of Workers in a Lean World With historical sidebars ranging from the Industrial Workers of the World to Cesar Chavez and a generous sprinkling of photos and cartoons, Why Unions Matter is a clear and simple introduction to the labor movement's purpose and promise.

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4.6/5

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers. First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers. First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

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3.8/5

Which Side Are You On?: Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back by Thomas Geoghegan

When it first appeared in hardcover, Which Side Are You On? received widespread critical accolades, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. In this new paperback edition, Thomas Geoghegan has updated his eloquent plea for the relevance of organized labor in America with an afterword covering the labor movement through the 1990s. A funny, When it first appeared in hardcover, Which Side Are You On? received widespread critical accolades, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. In this new paperback edition, Thomas Geoghegan has updated his eloquent plea for the relevance of organized labor in America with an afterword covering the labor movement through the 1990s. A funny, sharp, unsentimental career memoir, Which Side Are You On? pairs a compelling history of the rise and near-fall of labor in the United States with an idealist's disgruntled exercise in self-evaluation. Writing with the honesty of an embattled veteran still hoping for the best, Geoghegan offers an entertaining, accessible, and literary introduction to the labor movement, as well as an indispensable touchstone for anyone whose hopes have run up against the unaccommodating facts on the ground. Wry and inspiring, Which Side Are You On? is the ideal book for anyone who has ever woken up and realized, "You must change your life."

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4.1/5

The Making of the English Working Class by E.P. Thompson

This account of artisan & working-class society in its formative years, 1780-1832, adds an important dimension to our understanding of the 19th century. E.P. Thompson shows how the working class took part in its own making & recreates the whole life experience of people who suffered loss of status & freedom, who underwent degradation & who yet created a cul This account of artisan & working-class society in its formative years, 1780-1832, adds an important dimension to our understanding of the 19th century. E.P. Thompson shows how the working class took part in its own making & recreates the whole life experience of people who suffered loss of status & freedom, who underwent degradation & who yet created a culture & political consciousness of great vitality. "Thompson's book has been called controversial, but perhaps only because so many have forgotten how explosive England was during the Regency & the early reign of Victoria. Without any reservation, The Making of the English Working Class is the most important study of those days since the classic work of the Hammonds."--Commentary "Mr Thompson's deeply human imagination & controlled passion help us to recapture the agonies, heroisms & illusions of the working class as it made itself. No one interested in the history of the English people should fail to read his book."--Times Literary Supplement

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4.1/5

Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America by James R. Green

On May 4, 1886, a bomb exploded at a Chicago labor rally, wounding dozens of policemen, seven of whom eventually died. A wave of mass hysteria swept the country, leading to a sensational trial, that culminated in four controversial executions, and dealt a blow to the labor movement from which it would take decades to recover. Historian James Green recounts the rise of the On May 4, 1886, a bomb exploded at a Chicago labor rally, wounding dozens of policemen, seven of whom eventually died. A wave of mass hysteria swept the country, leading to a sensational trial, that culminated in four controversial executions, and dealt a blow to the labor movement from which it would take decades to recover. Historian James Green recounts the rise of the first great labor movement in the wake of the Civil War and brings to life an epic twenty-year struggle for the eight-hour workday. Blending a gripping narrative, outsized characters and a panoramic portrait of a major social movement, Death in the Haymarket is an important addition to the history of American capitalism and a moving story about the class tensions at the heart of Gilded Age America.

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4.3/5

Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century by Harry Braverman , John Bellamy Foster (Introduction) , Paul M. Sweezy (Foreword)

This widely acclaimed book, first published in 1974, was a classic from its first day in print. Written in a direct, inviting way by Harry Braverman, whose years as an industrial worker gave him rich personal insight into work, Labor and Monopoly Capital overturned the reigning ideologies of academic sociology. This new edition features an introduction by John Bellamy Foste This widely acclaimed book, first published in 1974, was a classic from its first day in print. Written in a direct, inviting way by Harry Braverman, whose years as an industrial worker gave him rich personal insight into work, Labor and Monopoly Capital overturned the reigning ideologies of academic sociology. This new edition features an introduction by John Bellamy Foster that sets the work in historical and theoretical context, as well as two rare articles by Braverman, "The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century" (1975) and "Two Comments" (1976), that add much to our understanding of the book.

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3.8/5

Detroit: I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution by Dan Georgakas , Marvin Surkin , Manning Marable (Editor)

This new South End Press edition makes available the full text of this out-of-print classic--along with a new foreword by Manning Marable, interviews with participants in DRUM, and reflections on political developments over the past threee decades by Georgakas and Surkin.

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4.9/5

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle

“Sure to become the definitive account of the fire. . . . Triangle is social history at its best, a magnificent portrayal not only of the catastrophe but also of the time and the turbulent city in which it took place.” —The New York Times Book Review Triangle is a poignantly detailed account of the 1911 disaster that horrified the country and changed the course of twentieth “Sure to become the definitive account of the fire. . . . Triangle is social history at its best, a magnificent portrayal not only of the catastrophe but also of the time and the turbulent city in which it took place.” —The New York Times Book Review Triangle is a poignantly detailed account of the 1911 disaster that horrified the country and changed the course of twentieth-century politics and labor relations. On March 25, 1911, as workers were getting ready to leave for the day, a fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York’s Greenwich Village. Within minutes it spread to consume the building’s upper three stories. Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside: their ladders simply weren’t tall enough. People on the street watched in horror as desperate workers jumped to their deaths. The final toll was 146 people—123 of them women. It was the worst disaster in New York City history. Triangle is a vibrant and immensely moving account that Bob Woodward calls, “A riveting history written with flare and precision.”

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3.9/5

Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War by Thomas G. Andrews

On a spring morning in 1914, in the stark foothills of southern Colorado, members of the United Mine Workers of America clashed with guards employed by the Rockefeller family, and a state militia beholden to Colorado’s industrial barons. When the dust settled, nineteen men, women, and children among the miners’ families lay dead. The strikers had killed at least thirty me On a spring morning in 1914, in the stark foothills of southern Colorado, members of the United Mine Workers of America clashed with guards employed by the Rockefeller family, and a state militia beholden to Colorado’s industrial barons. When the dust settled, nineteen men, women, and children among the miners’ families lay dead. The strikers had killed at least thirty men, destroyed six mines, and laid waste to two company towns. Killing for Coal offers a bold and original perspective on the 1914 Ludlow Massacre and the “Great Coalfield War.” In a sweeping story of transformation that begins in the coal beds and culminates with the deadliest strike in American history, Thomas Andrews illuminates the causes and consequences of the militancy that erupted in colliers’ strikes over the course of nearly half a century. He reveals a complex world shaped by the connected forces of land, labor, corporate industrialization, and workers’ resistance. Brilliantly conceived and written, this book takes the organic world as its starting point. The resulting elucidation of the coalfield wars goes far beyond traditional labor history. Considering issues of social and environmental justice in the context of an economy dependent on fossil fuel, Andrews makes a powerful case for rethinking the relationships that unite and divide workers, consumers, capitalists, and the natural world. (20090215)

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