on October 20, 2008
This book uses oral history, company, and union archives to tell a riveting story about an attempt by poor (mostly black) workers to build a union against heavy odds. This book tells us so much about twentieth century American history, and it does it with great skill. All the great themes of labor's downfall are here. The inability to organize the South. The racism and anti-communism of high union officials. The failure of Operation Dixie. The vicious backlash of employers and the Democratic party against the movement for working class power. This book is a great example of micro history used to illuminate important national trends. I cannot recommend a book more highly.
on June 27, 2003
In this wonderful book, African American tobacco workers tell their own story of civil rights struggle and union organizing. It is long, but so was the struggle, and I couldn't put it down. Oral interviews give us the black workers' own accounts, sending, for once, the white supremacists to the back of the bus.
Read it. You will find a South you never thought you would find.
on May 7, 2004
This is a terrific book--an important history that brings together a story of race, labor unions, economic change, politics, and culture, but never loses sight of the actual people involved. Very well written--not dry and academic like some history, but also very rich analytically. Buy it and read it!