Short history of the US working class published


Paul Le Blanc, noted historian and scholar of Marxist politics, has written a very fine general introduction to U.S. labor history titled "A Short History of the U.S. Working Class: From Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century." The book is published by Humanity Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books). Its price is $17.95 in paperback, and it can be ordered directly from the publisher at 1-800-421-0351, charged to Visa or MasterCard. Or send a check or money order to Humanities Books, 59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197 (Include $4.45 for postage and handling).

The aim of Paul's book is to introduce students and the general public to the people and social forces that have shaped the U.S. labor movement. It is written in a very lively and interesting style and is instantly accessible. It is a hopeful book in that it focuses on the concrete struggles of working men and women to change their lives in the face of a cold and brutal economic system. Yet it does not gloss over the many trials and tribulations of the labor movement. There are great discussions of slavery, women and the labor movement, corruption in organized labor, the great depression, the cold war and its AFL-CIO-supported anti-communism, the civil rights movement, and much more.

The book is illustrated by Mike Alewitz. It contains an informative bibliographical essay, a good additional bibliography, a fine list of labor films, a glossary which will be very useful for students, labor-oriented websites and magazines, a U.S. labor history chronology, and a timeline of U.S. labor history. And all of this in about 200 pages at a reasonable price.

I might add that Paul Le Blanc is an exceptional teacher, a dedicated activist, a talented scholar and writer, and, best of all, a wonderful human being. I urge you to buy this book, use it in your classrooms and discussion groups, and recommend it to anyone interested in the labor movement.

Michael Yates