Cover image for Waterfront revolts : New York and London dockworkers, 1946-61
Waterfront revolts : New York and London dockworkers, 1946-61
Davis, Colin J. (Colin John), 1954-
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 246 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
The men -- The work -- Estrangement -- The 1948 New York strike -- The 1948 London strike -- Rivalry : New York -- Rivalry : London -- The fault line of race.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
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HD5325.L6 D38 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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During the decade that followed the end of World War II, American and English dockworkers undertook a series of militant revolts against their employers, their governments, and even their union leaderships. In this in-depth comparative study, Colin Davis draws on a wide range of sources to explore the upheavals on both sides of the Atlantic. Davis examines the dynamics of work and work stoppage along the two pivotal waterfronts, showing how issues of race, organized crime, union affiliation, working conditions, and Cold War politics shaped waterfront uprisings and the state's response to them. He explores other key differences between American and British labor, such as the cultural forces that led to the emergence of rank-and-file dockworkers' movements, degree of governmental oversight, methods of obtaining work, and specifics of ethnic and racial identification. Addressing questions of why dockworkers were such influential forces in the postwar industrial arena, Waterfront Revolts reveals how workers and trade unions directly influenced cold war politics, the economy, and culture - even across national borders.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Part of "The Working Class in American History" series, this book is a comparative study of dockworker rebellions in New York City and London just after WW II. Davis (history, Univ. of Alabama and author of Power at Odds: The National Railroad Shopmen's Strike, CH, Nov'97) details waterfront struggles in both cities from 1948 to 1954, when workers battled their employers, government officials, and even their own union leaders. In the face of postwar attacks on radical dissent and mounting pressures for conformity, Davis argues, the worker insurgencies threatened to shatter any sort of emerging corporatist collaboration among the private sector, state, and labor. Despite various differences between the two waterfronts, including racial and ethnic segmentation of New York City's docks, workers on both sides of the pond demonstrated a common alienation from authority as well as a common inclination to use wildcat action for winning workplace democracy. The revolts in both cities also ended, however, without significantly reshaping the labor movement or political landscape. A useful addition to labor history collections. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty collections. C. Montrie University of Massachusetts Lowell