counter create hit State of the Union: A Century of American Labor - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

State of the Union: A Century of American Labor

Availability: Ready to download

In a fresh and timely reinterpretation, Nelson Lichtenstein examines how trade unionism has waxed and waned in the nation's political and moral imagination, among both devoted partisans and intransigent foes. From the steel foundry to the burger-grill, from Woodrow Wilson to John Sweeney, from Homestead to Pittston, Lichtenstein weaves together a compelling matrix of ideas In a fresh and timely reinterpretation, Nelson Lichtenstein examines how trade unionism has waxed and waned in the nation's political and moral imagination, among both devoted partisans and intransigent foes. From the steel foundry to the burger-grill, from Woodrow Wilson to John Sweeney, from Homestead to Pittston, Lichtenstein weaves together a compelling matrix of ideas, stories, strikes, laws, and people in a streamlined narrative of work and labor in the twentieth century. The "labor question" became a burning issue during the Progressive Era because its solution seemed essential to the survival of American democracy itself. Beginning there, Lichtenstein takes us all the way to the organizing fever of contemporary Los Angeles, where the labor movement stands at the center of the effort to transform millions of new immigrants into alert citizen unionists. He offers an expansive survey of labor's upsurge during the 1930s, when the New Deal put a white, male version of industrial democracy at the heart of U.S. political culture. He debunks the myth of a postwar "management-labor accord" by showing that there was (at most) a limited, unstable truce. Lichtenstein argues that the ideas that had once sustained solidarity and citizenship in the world of work underwent a radical transformation when the rights-centered social movements of the 1960s and 1970s captured the nation's moral imagination. The labor movement was therefore tragically unprepared for the years of Reagan and Clinton: although technological change and a new era of global economics battered the unions, their real failure was one of ideas and political will. Throughout, Lichtenstein argues that labor's most important function, in theory if not always in practice, has been the vitalization of a democratic ethos, at work and in the larger society. To the extent that the unions fuse their purpose with that impulse, they can once again become central to the fate of the republic. "State of the Union" is an incisive history that tells the story of one of America's defining aspirations.


Compare
Ads Banner

In a fresh and timely reinterpretation, Nelson Lichtenstein examines how trade unionism has waxed and waned in the nation's political and moral imagination, among both devoted partisans and intransigent foes. From the steel foundry to the burger-grill, from Woodrow Wilson to John Sweeney, from Homestead to Pittston, Lichtenstein weaves together a compelling matrix of ideas In a fresh and timely reinterpretation, Nelson Lichtenstein examines how trade unionism has waxed and waned in the nation's political and moral imagination, among both devoted partisans and intransigent foes. From the steel foundry to the burger-grill, from Woodrow Wilson to John Sweeney, from Homestead to Pittston, Lichtenstein weaves together a compelling matrix of ideas, stories, strikes, laws, and people in a streamlined narrative of work and labor in the twentieth century. The "labor question" became a burning issue during the Progressive Era because its solution seemed essential to the survival of American democracy itself. Beginning there, Lichtenstein takes us all the way to the organizing fever of contemporary Los Angeles, where the labor movement stands at the center of the effort to transform millions of new immigrants into alert citizen unionists. He offers an expansive survey of labor's upsurge during the 1930s, when the New Deal put a white, male version of industrial democracy at the heart of U.S. political culture. He debunks the myth of a postwar "management-labor accord" by showing that there was (at most) a limited, unstable truce. Lichtenstein argues that the ideas that had once sustained solidarity and citizenship in the world of work underwent a radical transformation when the rights-centered social movements of the 1960s and 1970s captured the nation's moral imagination. The labor movement was therefore tragically unprepared for the years of Reagan and Clinton: although technological change and a new era of global economics battered the unions, their real failure was one of ideas and political will. Throughout, Lichtenstein argues that labor's most important function, in theory if not always in practice, has been the vitalization of a democratic ethos, at work and in the larger society. To the extent that the unions fuse their purpose with that impulse, they can once again become central to the fate of the republic. "State of the Union" is an incisive history that tells the story of one of America's defining aspirations.

30 review for State of the Union: A Century of American Labor

  1. 5 out of 5

    Micah

    This is one of the best books I've ever read on the American labor movement!!!! Seriously, if I had to recommend a single book that gave an overview of US labor — not just raw historical facts but synthesized analysis about the movement and its role in US society and conceptions of democracy at work and a million other things — it'd probably be this one. Not to mention Lichtenstein is a really excellent writer; I didn't feel like his narrative dragged once while reading this. Highly highly highl This is one of the best books I've ever read on the American labor movement!!!! Seriously, if I had to recommend a single book that gave an overview of US labor — not just raw historical facts but synthesized analysis about the movement and its role in US society and conceptions of democracy at work and a million other things — it'd probably be this one. Not to mention Lichtenstein is a really excellent writer; I didn't feel like his narrative dragged once while reading this. Highly highly highly recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan Gorman

    It's okay. Lichtenstein's avowed labor partisanship may irk readers looking for a monograph instead of a manifesto. The author hits the high points of twentieth-century labor, from the promise of labor in the New Deal to the corporate resurgence of the late 1900s. He wants a rejuvenated, militant labor movement to empower workers on a grassroots level and push the Democratic Party to the left. Sixteen years after this book's publication, we are seeing labor, anti-gun, climate, and other activist It's okay. Lichtenstein's avowed labor partisanship may irk readers looking for a monograph instead of a manifesto. The author hits the high points of twentieth-century labor, from the promise of labor in the New Deal to the corporate resurgence of the late 1900s. He wants a rejuvenated, militant labor movement to empower workers on a grassroots level and push the Democratic Party to the left. Sixteen years after this book's publication, we are seeing labor, anti-gun, climate, and other activists pushing the Democrats to the left, plus centrist and establishment Democrats resisting that nudge.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amyleigh

    Lichtenstein's history of American unionism and labour politics is rigorous, thorough, yet highly readable and engaging. Good stuff indeed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Timothy

    In State of the Union, Nelson Lichtenstein provides an interpretive history of American labor from approximately 1930 to 2000. By “interpretive history”, I mean that Lichtenstein’s goal was not to lay out a definitive, comprehensive labor history. Rather, his goal was to use history as a means for proposing fresh ideas about the role of labor movements in American society. This is not to suggest that Lichtenstein shirks history, or plays loose with historical events in order to support an agenda In State of the Union, Nelson Lichtenstein provides an interpretive history of American labor from approximately 1930 to 2000. By “interpretive history”, I mean that Lichtenstein’s goal was not to lay out a definitive, comprehensive labor history. Rather, his goal was to use history as a means for proposing fresh ideas about the role of labor movements in American society. This is not to suggest that Lichtenstein shirks history, or plays loose with historical events in order to support an agenda. Although Lichtenstein is a labor supporter, State of the Union is a rigorous work. It is not overtly ideological, and Lichtenstein clearly did his homework. As a result, State of the Union can serve dual purposes. It can be read as “straight history”. As someone who knew little about American labor history prior to reading the book, I learned a great deal about a variety of labor-related topics, including the Wagner Act, the Taft-Hartley Act, the history of the AFL-CIO, and the history of the Teamsters. It can also be read as a scholarly treatise. Personally, I appreciated this duality. I tend to reject the notion that history is something “out there” that can be objectively recorded in computer-like fashion. History is both documented and created by historians. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of State of the Union is Lichtenstein’s treatment of contemporary rights-based movements in America, and their impact on the labor movement. Lichtenstein notes historical transformation – from (1) New Deal-supported “industrial democracy” (clearly the closest America has come to a class-based movement, although, given support for union activity by the Roosevelt administration, radical edges were frayed), to (2) industry or site specific, bureaucratized collective bargaining, to (3) individualized employee rights. As things presently stand, many American workers gain more traction by filing a personal grievance under a federal anti-discrimination law, than by organizing with fellow employees. We know the historical antecedents of this state of affairs – the American civil rights movement, the feminist movement, etc. These movements extend, and probably began, outside the workplace. Yet, access to sustaining, satisfying work is a fundamental political issue. Rights movements inevitably extended into the workplace. In so doing, they supplanted organized worker movements. Lichtenstein questions whether workers are better off with these statutory safeguards than they would be under a strong union.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    It's somewhere between 4 and 5 stars tbh, but I went with 5 because the tiebreaker here is that it has an absurd number of great references to studies of particular labor-related issues. I ended up getting about 20 new books culled from these references. I think it does quite a good job of outlining the particular issues that unions in the US have faced over the past 100 years, though admittedly tons of nuances/details are glossed over (hence the references). As other reviewers have mentioned, a It's somewhere between 4 and 5 stars tbh, but I went with 5 because the tiebreaker here is that it has an absurd number of great references to studies of particular labor-related issues. I ended up getting about 20 new books culled from these references. I think it does quite a good job of outlining the particular issues that unions in the US have faced over the past 100 years, though admittedly tons of nuances/details are glossed over (hence the references). As other reviewers have mentioned, a major thrust of the book is the presentation at the end of a "where to go from here" for the labor movement. It's funny though, because as a radical I actually found that to be the most bland part of the book, in that it advocates labor constituting a left wing of the Democratic party (meh) and forgetting about pushing for a shorter workweek (more reasonable IMO, but still somewhat meh). In all though, for radicals, I think this is an extremely important book for its historical content, even if we may come to different conclusions in the end.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ivan

    Liechtenstein's history of the postwar labor movement isn't without its flaws -- most notably, silence on racial issues and the "wages of whiteness" as contributors to a splintering of union power and working-class mobilization -- but one point does stand out. As a result of the shift from group organizing to legal maintenance -- collective bargaining, the NLRB, etc. -- the responsibility for social change is given to professionals: lawyers, judges and lobbyists who have no direct stake in the o Liechtenstein's history of the postwar labor movement isn't without its flaws -- most notably, silence on racial issues and the "wages of whiteness" as contributors to a splintering of union power and working-class mobilization -- but one point does stand out. As a result of the shift from group organizing to legal maintenance -- collective bargaining, the NLRB, etc. -- the responsibility for social change is given to professionals: lawyers, judges and lobbyists who have no direct stake in the outcome. When the political winds shift or different bureaucrats are appointed, the movement is less able to respond and resist these changes because they are no longer on equal footing in the legal arena.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

    Very accessible and interesting summary of 20th century American labor movement.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stan Lanier

    A provocative interpretive work enhanced by reading other general overviews such as Robert Zieger's & Gilbert Gall's AMERICAN WORKERS, AMERICAN UNIONS (3rd ed.) A provocative interpretive work enhanced by reading other general overviews such as Robert Zieger's & Gilbert Gall's AMERICAN WORKERS, AMERICAN UNIONS (3rd ed.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    Well researched and detailed, but often disjointed and difficult to follow.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    a reasonably comprehensive and persuasive history of the rise and fall of the american labor movement.

  11. 5 out of 5

    ben

    very dense but well written. a great overview of the history and politics of Labor in the last 140 years.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  14. 5 out of 5

    Travis Williams

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  17. 4 out of 5

    Timothy McCluskey

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  19. 4 out of 5

    Viral

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michael Elsey

  21. 4 out of 5

    goo_ooder

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kenny Roundy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kris

  24. 5 out of 5

    John D. Thai

  25. 4 out of 5

    David

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ben

  27. 5 out of 5

    Frank

  28. 4 out of 5

    onur can taºtan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.