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And the Wolf Finally Came: The Decline and Fall of the American Steel Industry (Pittsburgh Series in Social and Labor History) Paperback – July 6, 1988


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Product Details

  • Series: Pittsburgh Series in Social and Labor History
  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (July 6, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822953986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822953982
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fascinating account of USX's turnabout, during the '70s and '80s, from the union's staunchest ally to its most intransigent foe, and the steelworkers' struggle to redefine their place in a divided industry." 
—New York Times Book Review


"An enormous labor of love, John Hoerr's book comprehensively chronicles a national tragedy." 
—The Nation


"One of the most important books on labor or business to appear in recent times."
—Choice



"Hoerr's exhaustive study of the decline of the steel industry, particularly in the Monongahela Valley, is essential reading."
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

About the Author

John Hoerr is a freelance writer and author with over thirty years of experience as a journalist for UPI, The Daily Tribune, and public television.  His published work includes And the Wolf Finally Came: The Decline of  the American Steel Industry  and We Can’t Eat Prestige: The Women Who Organized Harvard.

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Customer Reviews

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Excellent book, and a must read for anyone involved in the labor movement.
David
To grasp those days, either see the early Tom Cruise movie "All The Right Moves", or for depth, read this book.
John Mashey
Broke my heat after reading. for I was from McKeesport mentioned in the book that lost the those steel mills.
M. Andrews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John Mashey on August 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this years ago, and I thought it was an excellent analysis of the collapse of the steel industry in Pittsburgh, filled with compelling tales of individual people.
The books feels like a Greek tragedy, in which the protagonists are doomed to a slow slide towards the edge of a cliff. Institutionalized conflict overcomes the efforts of people from both labor and maangement to halt, or at least slow the inevitable slide.
For people who think that the current dot.com crash is a serious downturn, this book offers a very good counter-perspective. When an area loses 100K jobs in 10 years, and whole towns essentially close, that's a *real* downturn.
On the other hand, there's always hope. Pittsburgh has bounced back, and has a much more diversified economy. The last time I visited, I could see the sky, which was more difficult in the steel days. To grasp those days, either see the early Tom Cruise movie "All The Right Moves", or for depth, read this book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a detailed and heartbreaking story of the failure and collapse of the American steel industry. Sometimes the details are more than one needs to know, but this book will serve as an excellent case history on the underlying reasons for the transfer of the "rust-belt" jobs overseas, and now America's reliance of foreigners to produce the goods we use, in return for pieces of paper (Bonds) giving them claims on American wealth.

Mr. Hoerr tries to write a dispassionate history, but it is difficult in the face of such monumental stupidity and greed. "A vibrant forty-six mile stretch of river valley, providing primary jobs for over thirty-five thousand steel employees... would be devastated and expunged from economic memory in less than five years." "After that, the opportunities are limitless... from here to there where McDonald's needs someone to serve the one-trillionth burger." (p12-13).

The author was a reporter during this period, and apportions blame to both the steel company management and the unions, but clearly reserves his primary animus for management. They saw labor as an undifferentiated mass of dumb "hunkies", the pejorative term for people of Slavic origins, who only needed to take orders. That attitude was repaid, as Mr. Hoerr says: "I have known only two major corporations that actually engendered feelings of hatred among their employees, GM and US Steel." (p206) Management eventually acquiesced to the form, but not the substance of labor participation by forming "Labor-Management Participation Teams," but usually ignored their recommendations. There was also a willful neglect in spending the capital to modernize the operations - USX finally proposed building the first continuous caster plant in the Mon Valley in 1986! - at the very end.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn about what went wrong in this basic industry. Not only a study of the collapse of the steel industry in the Mon Valley, the book is also a study of the pain of postindustrialization that swept the country in the 1980's. Esentially, the author is writing about a national trend, but focuses on the Pittsburgh area, which is really a microcosm. It is also a good look at what happens when unions and management can't get their acts together.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Fred H. on August 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
My dad - who died a couple of years ago - published this book. He was very proud of it, and I think he would have been very pleased to see that Amazon customers are responding to it favorably.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Civil Defiance on May 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Many are aware that the once-mighty American steel industry lost its dominance in the 1980's, dramatically collapsing into a sorry remnant of itself. It collapsed and it never recovered. During the acrimonious final plunge, a "conventional wisdom" emerged which blamed the United Steel Workers of America almost entirely for the downfall. I never believed that one-sided explanation, but I didn't know what the alternative was. I only knew that something really big had happened to quench the fires that I saw as a teen, riding with my father in a car bound for Washington DC, emerging from the dark tunnel high above Pittsburgh to a riot of blast furnaces, smokestacks pouring, fire leaping, lights and trains: all of it silenced!

Recently, I discovered the real story in "And The Wolf Finally Came", and, although it was initially published in 1988, the story remains relevant today. Author and Pennsylvania native John Hoerr made a career writing about the steel industry, and he knows what he is talking about. In the context of today's climate of brazen union-bashing politicians, this historical look at organized labor and industry is interesting and instructive.

"And The Wolf Finally Came" explains how things got to be the way they are. It is a work of journalism that objectively looks at the issues from both Labor and Management perspectives. Going back to the first days of steel and steel labor, the author walks the reader through decades of economic surges and recessions. All along, he engages the reader with the strong personalities involved and the wily negotiating strategies that both sides employed at contract time. Honorable negotiators on both sides sometimes entertained new ideas of power sharing, hoping to retain competitiveness.
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