The Wobblies: The Story of the IWW and Syndicalism in the United States: The Story of Iww and Syndicalism in the United States Paperback – 24 Aug 1999
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Topical even today. Los Angeles Times A lively introduction to a trying and violent period in American industrial history. Journal of American History The story of American trade unionism is a sorry one-dirty and tragic-and this is one of the worst chapters. Times Literary Supplement A careful, balanced work. The New York Times Eminently readable. The Boston Globe
About the Author
Patrick Renshaw, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, lives in Sheffield, England.
Top customer reviews
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
but really has a conservative edge more like you'd read about the 1950's. A good primer on the IWW--it got me interested in finding out more!
This book is a thoroughly engaging read.
Some of the divisive issues:
* A strong central union? Or autonomous, decentralized branches?
* To organize horizontally or vertically? By craft/ trade or by class?
* To engage in sabotage? Seizure of property? Sit-ins?
* Strikes--good or bad?
* To bore from within existing political parties or unions? Or to be independent of them?
* To achieve revolution by the ballot box? Direct action? Economic power?
It is a story of struggle for justice and dignity against relentless and brutal persecution--and lack of money. The author is sympathetic to the IWW and its aims: to unite all workers into one big union, to emancipate them all and put an end to the wage system. Revolutionary, but not violent in theory.
Was the IWW a success or a failure? This book concludes that it left "a mark in the field of civil liberties," influenced later organizations such as the CIO, and had "an importance which goes beyond its achievements and failures."
An exciting story, full of pain and suffering. Indexed, with bibliography. Illustrated with archival photos. Recommended to readers interested in labor history or early twentieth century American history.
If you want an even better history, search out "The IWW: it's first 50 years" by Fred Thompson. It is tragically out of print, but is available in many libraries. This an official history of the IWW, but is a acknowledged labor classic for its honesty and even handedness. Its only weakness is its brevity because the IWW was too poor to print a larger volume.
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