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Rank and File
Personal Histories by Working-Class Organizers
The trials and tribulations of firebrand union organizers, from the 1930s—1970s, are brought to life here, in their own words.
In this long-out-of-print oral history classic, Alice and Staughton Lynd chronicle the stories of more than two dozen working-class organizers who occupied factories, held sit-down strikes, walked out, picketed, and found other bold and innovative ways to fight for workers’ rights.

Rank and File brings the militancy of these firebrand organizers to life—whether it was in founding unions, challenging sexism and racism, safety violations, and management intimidation, or working for broader social changes.
Reviews

  • “One of the best works of oral history produced by radical historians. . . . For readers who want to see an alternative view to ocial trade union history, in which labor leaders take the center stage, Rank and File is the place to begin. ese personal histories of rank and le organizers show how ordinary working-class men and women made their own history.”
    —Nation

    “The stories, which are replete with heroism, double-dealing, hope, and su ering, make a vital contribution to an understanding of American labor’s struggle for recognition and united strength.”
    —Library Journal

    “A skillful compilation of interviews with working-class organizers . . . not just an oral history, but a chronicle of modern political events ignored in mainstream labor history and journalistic commentary. e value lies in what it will tell future generations about today.”
    —History Workshop Journal

    “The fi rst serious installment in . . . radical labor history.”
    —Labor History

  • “One of the best works of oral history produced by radical historians. . . . For readers who want to see an alternative view to o cial trade union history, in which labor leaders take the center stage, Rank and File is the place to begin. ese personal histories of rank and le organizers show how ordinary working-class men and women made their own history.”
    Nation

    “ The stories, which are replete with heroism, double-dealing, hope, and su ering, make a vital contribution to an understanding of American labor’s struggle for recognition and united strength.”
    Library Journal

    “A skillful compilation of interviews with working-class organizers . . . not just an oral history, but a chronicle of modern political events ignored in mainstream labor history and journalistic commentary. e value lies in what it will tell future generations about today.”
    History Workshop Journal

    “Th e fi rst serious installment in . . . radical labor history.”
    Labor History