Cover image for Hard work : the making of labor history
Title:
Hard work : the making of labor history
Author:
Dubofsky, Melvyn, 1934-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
ix, 249 pages ; 23 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780252025518

9780252068683
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library HD8066 .D76 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

This welcome collection encapsulates the evolving thought of one of American labor history's most prominent scholars. Melvyn Dubofsky's accessible style and historical reach mark his work as required reading for students and scholars alike.

Hard Work juxtaposes Dubofsky's early and recent writings, forcefully suggesting how present and past interact in the writing of history. In addition to solid essays on various aspects of labor history, including western working-class radicalism, U.S. labor history in transnational and comparative settings, and the impact of technological change on the American worker movements, this volume provides an invaluable "I was there" perspective on the academic and political climate of the 1960s and early 1970s and on the development of labor history as a discipline over the past four decades.

An exploration of some of American labor's central themes by a giant in the field, Hard Work is also a compelling narrative of how one scholar was drawn to labor historyas a subject of study and how his approach to it changed over time.


Summary

An exploration of some of American labor's central themes by a giant in the field, this book also a narrative of how one scholar was drawn to labor history as a subject of study and how his approach to it changed over time.


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

In the 1950s and 1960s, when consensus dominated U.S. history, a handful of historians laid the groundwork for labor history; Dubofsky was one of them. This collection first offers the Binghamton University^-SUNY professor's 30-page memoir and then articles from different stages of his career. The first three cover subjects Dubofsky studied early on (working-class radicalism in the western states, the IWW, and "Big Bill" Haywood) with an emphasis on the need to compare the actions of working people across regions and countries. The middle essays consider workers' involvement with politics and the state during specific periods (the Wilson administration and the 1930s) and, more broadly, over the course of the twentieth century. In the final three essays, Dubofsky considers the response of worker movements to technology over time, whether the U.S. was "Fordist," and strengths and weaknesses of Herbert Gutman's approach to labor history. Certainly not an essential acquisition but a gracefully written, enlightening volume for libraries with active U.S. history collections. --Mary Carroll


Library Journal Review

Dubofsky (history, SUNY, Binghamton; Industrialization and the American Worker) is a leading scholar of American Labor history. IN a straightforward writing style this collection of ten essays surveys his writings over the past half-century, covering such topics as working-class radicalism in the western United States, the impact of technological change on worker's movements, and the author's assessment of the writing of labor history. He sketches portraits of some of his contemporaries in the field of American labor history while providing a long account of his career in academia. Along the way, the author discusses how his own interests have changed and how he has revised his original interpretations. Dubofsky, for instance, now believes that the writing of working-class history should be placed in a broader international context. Recommended for the labor history collections of academic libraries.-Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Beginning in the 1960s, Dubofsky (Binghamton Univ., SUNY) played a key role, along with Herbert Gutman, David Montgomery, and David Brody, in changing the way scholars thought about the history of American workers. The ten essays and accompanying commentaries in this volume serve as an intellectual biography of both Dubofsky and an academic discipline. By examining the daily life experiences of working men and women beyond the institutional confines of trade unionism, Dubofsky and the others moved ordinary people onto the center stage of human activity. One of the hallmarks of the "New" labor history was its willingness to challenge long-held assumptions. Nowhere has this been clearer than in Dubofsky's ongoing attacks on the concept of American exceptionalism. Starting with his work on the Industrial Workers of the World and stretching to his most recent essay on Paterson, New Jersey, he consistently argued that the historical evolution of the working class in the US could not fully be understood without connecting it to parallel developments in other parts of the world. This all-too-rare example of history at its best combines interesting stories told within a context of weighty, yet accessible ideas. An appropriate capstone to Dubofsky's long and distinguished career, this book is recommended for general and academic labor studies collections. H. Harris; Pennsylvania State University, New Kensington Campus


Booklist Review

In the 1950s and 1960s, when consensus dominated U.S. history, a handful of historians laid the groundwork for labor history; Dubofsky was one of them. This collection first offers the Binghamton University^-SUNY professor's 30-page memoir and then articles from different stages of his career. The first three cover subjects Dubofsky studied early on (working-class radicalism in the western states, the IWW, and "Big Bill" Haywood) with an emphasis on the need to compare the actions of working people across regions and countries. The middle essays consider workers' involvement with politics and the state during specific periods (the Wilson administration and the 1930s) and, more broadly, over the course of the twentieth century. In the final three essays, Dubofsky considers the response of worker movements to technology over time, whether the U.S. was "Fordist," and strengths and weaknesses of Herbert Gutman's approach to labor history. Certainly not an essential acquisition but a gracefully written, enlightening volume for libraries with active U.S. history collections. --Mary Carroll


Library Journal Review

Dubofsky (history, SUNY, Binghamton; Industrialization and the American Worker) is a leading scholar of American Labor history. IN a straightforward writing style this collection of ten essays surveys his writings over the past half-century, covering such topics as working-class radicalism in the western United States, the impact of technological change on worker's movements, and the author's assessment of the writing of labor history. He sketches portraits of some of his contemporaries in the field of American labor history while providing a long account of his career in academia. Along the way, the author discusses how his own interests have changed and how he has revised his original interpretations. Dubofsky, for instance, now believes that the writing of working-class history should be placed in a broader international context. Recommended for the labor history collections of academic libraries.-Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Beginning in the 1960s, Dubofsky (Binghamton Univ., SUNY) played a key role, along with Herbert Gutman, David Montgomery, and David Brody, in changing the way scholars thought about the history of American workers. The ten essays and accompanying commentaries in this volume serve as an intellectual biography of both Dubofsky and an academic discipline. By examining the daily life experiences of working men and women beyond the institutional confines of trade unionism, Dubofsky and the others moved ordinary people onto the center stage of human activity. One of the hallmarks of the "New" labor history was its willingness to challenge long-held assumptions. Nowhere has this been clearer than in Dubofsky's ongoing attacks on the concept of American exceptionalism. Starting with his work on the Industrial Workers of the World and stretching to his most recent essay on Paterson, New Jersey, he consistently argued that the historical evolution of the working class in the US could not fully be understood without connecting it to parallel developments in other parts of the world. This all-too-rare example of history at its best combines interesting stories told within a context of weighty, yet accessible ideas. An appropriate capstone to Dubofsky's long and distinguished career, this book is recommended for general and academic labor studies collections. H. Harris; Pennsylvania State University, New Kensington Campus


Google Preview