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A Short History of the U.S. Working Class
From Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century (Revolutionary Studies)
Le Blanc presents a colorful, fact-filled history that concentrates on the struggles and achievements of the often neglected laboring majority.
Noting that standard accounts of U.S. history often pay little attention to the working class, labor historian Paul Le Blanc presents a colorful, fact-filled history that concentrates on the struggles and achievements of that often-neglected laboring majority. Employing a blend of economic, social, and political history, Le Blanc shows how important labor issues have been and continue to be in the forging of our nation’s history. Within a broad analytical framework he highlights issues of class, gender, race, and ethnicity, and includes the views of key figures of U.S. labor, including Cesar Chavez, Eugene V. Debs, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Samuel Gompers, Woody Guthrie, “Big Bill” Haywood, Langston Hughes, Mary “Mother” Jones, Martin Luther King Jr., George Meany, A. Philip Randolph, and Carl Sandburg.

In addition to the main narrative, a bibliographical essay directs readers to classic works and cutting-edge scholarship in the field of U.S. labor history as well as to relevant ¬fiction, poetry, and ¬films for further exploration or study. The book’s substantial glossary offers clear definitions and thought-provoking mini-essays for almost two hundred terms, from the most basic to the most complex and technical.
Reviews
  • “Exceptional book . . . not just for scholars or even for students, but for the working class. Such books are rare.”
    —Labor Note

    “Although most books that consider the ‘working class’ are usually devoted to studying or portraying the poor, Le Blanc’s book takes a much broader view. For Le Blanc, working class and labor are synonymous. His aim is to make the history of labor in the U.S. more accessible to students and the general reader. He succeeds by outlining major events in the history of the U.S., then showing the role of labor in shaping them or describing their impact on labor. Le Blanc’s primer not only informs but should also prove to be a helpful resource.”
    —Booklist
  • “[An] exceptional book…not just for scholars or even for students, but for the working class. Such books are rare.”
    —Labor Note

    “Although most books that consider the ‘working class’ are usually devoted to studying or portraying the poor, Le Blanc’s book takes a much broader view. For Le Blanc, working class and labor are synonymous. His aim is to make the history of labor in the U.S. more accessible to students and the general reader. He succeeds by outlining major events in the history of the U.S., then showing the role of labor in shaping them or describing their impact on labor. Le Blanc’s primer not only informs but should also prove to be a helpful resource.”
    —Booklist

Other books by Paul Le Blanc

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  • Black Liberation and the American Dream

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    Analysing intersections of race, class, and gender alongside primary texts, this unique volume explores racism and antiracism in the US.
  • The American Exceptionalism of Jay Lovestone and His Comrades, 1929-1940

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  • Trotskyism in the United States

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  • From Marx to Gramsci

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  • Lenin and the Revolutionary Party

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  • Leon Trotsky and the Organizational Principles of the Revolutionary Party

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  • Unfinished Leninism

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