Hard Work


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A career-spanning collection of writings on labor history by one of the leading figures in the field, showing not only his growth as an historian but the growth of his field as well, exploring the subjects of workers, unions, and politics.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 264 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 20.32mm | 249.47g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0252068688
  • 9780252068683

Back cover copy

Hard Work encapsulates the evolving thought of one of American labor history's most prominent scholars. Juxtaposing Melvyn Dubofsky's early and recent writings, this collection forcefully suggests how present and past interact in the writing of history.An exploration of some of American labor's central themes by a giant in the field, Hard Work is 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. 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.show more

Review quote

"A gracefully written, enlightening volume." -- Booklist "Dubofsky 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 workers' movements, and the author's assessment of the writing of labor history." -- Library Journal "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... 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 distinguiwhed career." -- Choice "Students of labor history will rejoice at having a compilation of some of the most distinct monographs ... written by one of the trailblazers of what remains a relatively new academic focus. The ten essays ... are accompanied by the author's retrospective musings ... [and] a useful bibliography of Dubofsky's lifetime publications. -- Roger Chapman, Southern Historian "Labour history ... was not born of proselytizing zeal, of large conferences and cultivated networks and study groups and connections turned to securing grants. It produced, in solitary and haphazard ways, scholarship of extraordinary depth and richness nonetheless. Dubofsky was at the centre of all this." -- Bryan D. Palmer, Industrial Relations "Over the past thirty years, Dubofsky's highly readable essays -- on the radicalism of western miners and the IWW and on labor and politics in the 1910s and 1930s in particular -- have influenced countless labor historians for the better. Labor historians would do well to heed his arguments for developing a history of workers' conservatism and seeking a fuller understanding of the international context. By bringing together a wide range of Dubofsky's work, this excellent volume should make that task much easier." -- Eric Arnesen, Industrial and Labor Relations Review ADVANCE PRAISE "Dubofsky's articles continue to instruct us in our present work as labor and social historians, even as they serve as an insightful guide to critical aspects in the evolution of the field over the last four decades. Culled from a lifetime of scholarship, these essays now gathered together remind us of our debt to his pronounced historical curiosity, careful research, and innovative interpretive analysis. It is a boon to have them collected in a volume so useful for teaching at all levels." -- Nick Salvatore, author of Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist "Dubofsky's essays are central to the current labor history literature. Anyone serious about labor history as a field of study will want to own this book." -- Robert Zieger, author of American Workers, American Unionsshow more

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