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Labor in America: A History

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Labor in America: A History, 9781118976852 (1118976851), John Wiley & Sons, 2017
The contours and content of this book have evolved in response to the experiences of American workers and their organizations as they have played out over the course of the last 70 years. When Foster Rhea Dulles began drafting the first edition of this textbook after World War II, the American labor movement was ascendant, benefiting from a surge of organizing which had unionized mass production industries. With nearly one-third of the nation's workers in unions, workers experiencing unprecedented improvements in their living standards, and organized labor emerging as a powerful political influence, many believed that the country was entering what the leading labor economist of the time, Sumner H. Slichter, called a “laboristic age.” By the time the first edition of Dulles's book was published in 1949, such boundless optimism was already tempered by the onset of the Cold War and an equally hardnosed war of position between employers and unions in the postwar era. Yet the fact that labor drew the interest of Dulles, whose first books dealt with the history of the US in the Pacific, indicated an important shift in scholarly attention to the history of workers and their movement. Up to that point, labor history was still largely the province of labor economists who had followed in the footsteps of John R. Commons. Few trained historians had embraced the subject before Dulles began this textbook, which he revised twice before his death in 1970.
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