Cover image for Pursuing justice : Lee Pressman, the New Deal, and the CIO
Pursuing justice : Lee Pressman, the New Deal, and the CIO
Gall, Gilbert J.
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Publication Information:
Albany : State University of New York Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 363 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
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KF373.P65 G35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Examines the career of the nation's most prominent liberal labor lawyer during a period of ascending labor power. Pressman was also one of the most prominent underground communists active in American political life from the early New Deal to the beginning of the Cold War.

Author Notes

Gilbert J. Gall is Associate Professor of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of The Politics of Right to Work: The Labor Federations as Special Interests, 1943-1978.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Labor attorney Lee Pressman played a key role in the CIO's industrial unionism movement of the New Deal period. As John L. Lewis's chief legal aide, Pressman became involved in a broad range of labor concerns that ranged from strategizing strike action to advocacy of a national health plan and civil liberties litigation. Operating within labor's no-strike policy, Pressman fought to protect union labor's interests during WW II. Gall presents an incisive, well-researched portrait of Pressman's career as one of the nation's foremost labor attorneys. He also deals with the fact that during the 1930s Pressman joined the Communist Party, making clear that his party membership did not divert him from serving the labor movement. Gall outlines the postwar political climate in which Cold War anticommunism strengthened the hand of corporations in rebuffing labor challenges to management's control of the workforce on the shop floor. There is also the sad story of Pressman's self-demeaning yielding to the inquisitors that led him to name names in HUAC hearings. Along with some careless proofreading, the book is flawed by uncritical acceptance of the claims made by such embittered ex-communists as Whittaker Chambers regarding party activities among federal employees. All in all, however, this is a useful, focused account of Pressman's career that sheds light on the early history of the CIO. H. Shapiro; University of Cincinnati

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Abbreviationsp. xi
Prologue: "For the same reasons, the same response."p. 1
1. World of Our Sonsp. 5
2. Certainty in Human Formp. 23
3. Hammer and Steelp. 46
4. Mobilizing the Administrative Statep. 75
5. Establishing the Commonwealth of Steelp. 113
6. General Counselp. 158
7. The Road to Gideon's Armyp. 192
8. The Miscalculationp. 232
9. Pursuing "Comrade Big"p. 263
Epilogue: "A quiet law practice ..."p. 299
Notesp. 313
Bibliographical Notep. 351
Indexp. 353