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Collapse of Dignity: The Story of a Mining Tragedy and the Fight Against Greed and Corruption in Mexico Hardcover – April 16, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A damning account of how misused power can cost lives and wreak havoc. Open, honest, and eloquent, Gomez passionately calls for reform and a better world as he condemns the officials and businessmen who exploit the workers.”
Publishers Weekly

"Collapse of Dignity gives trade union leaders and activists in North America and indeed around the world a heads up into the brutal tactics and strategies employed by governments and multi-national corporations that seek to drive down wages, radically alter the conditions of work, diminish workers’ rights and crush trade union resistance."
Ken Georgetti, President, Canadian Labour Congress

Collapse of Dignity is an unblinking and unnerving look inside our world’s labor struggle. Gómez’s incredible account of the fight for justice in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity is a warning, a lesson, and—ultimately—an impassioned call for international change. Essential reading for any working person.”
Thom Hartmann, Author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

“A riveting story about standing up to big corporations, Collapse of Dignity delivers a message for us all: We the People must force the global corporatocracy to serve us, the workers and consumers. The contrast between Chile and Mexico is a striking call to action.”
John Perkins, New York Times Bestselling Author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Hoodwinked

Collapse of Dignity is a powerful testimony to the attack by corrupt politicians and cynical businessmen to silence a union and its leader. Napoleón Gómez, leader of the mining and metalworkers’ union Los Mineros, gives a compelling account of the events that followed the industrial homicide… The global trade union movement continues to support this courageous fight for free and independent unionism in Mexico, and for a better life for all workers and their families. This is what we remain deeply committed to doing by mobilizing our forces all over the world.”
Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union

“Napoleón is a hero because every day he fights for the lives and welfare of the Mexican workers and their families.”
Richard Trumka President of AFL CIO

“Gómez writes with passion, intelligence and vision from his own extraordinary personal experience. His story of the brutal and deadly conditions of work in Mexico's mines and his sharp analysis of the global system that produces such inhumanity make this book essential for anyone who wants to understand how the global economy really works.”
Jeff Faux, Founder of the Economic Policy Institute and Author of The Servant Economy

“Injustice never stops until one person summons the courage to become a hero. Inhuman conditions never end until many join that hero and say ‘no more.’ This is the story of such a hero and those who answered his call.”
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada

Collapse of Dignity is an extraordinary, personal and essential dispatch from the brutal frontlines of workers’ battle for rights in the face of corporate greed, government corruption and the appalling neglect of the very lives and safety of Mexico’s miners.”
Carne Ross, Author of The Leaderless Revolution

"An evocative and powerful personal account of the global labour movement through the eyes of one of its leading figures."
Noreena Hertz, author of The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy and The Debt Threat: How Debt Is Destroying the Developing World

“Written with passion and honesty, Napoleón Gómez's memoir reveals a deeply personal story about the struggle of the Mexican National Union of Mine Workers. Theirs has been an epic battle for the safety and wellbeing of miners and their families, for their dignity, and for justice against callous mining corporations and corrupt politicians. This drama, filled with tragedy and inspiring resilience, is a poignant allegory of globalization and power that should be read by union leaders and activists around the world.”
Daniel Katz, Dean of Labor Studies at the National Labor College

Collapse of Dignity is about one man’s quest to restore dignity in the mines of Mexico and in the minds of his fellow mineworkers. Napoleón Gómez's story captures the struggle of the human spirit and the fight for freedom in today’s global economy.”
R. Thomas Buffenbarger, International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

About the Author

Napoleón Gómez Urrutia’s struggle for union democracy and for the respect and dignity of workers is well known worldwide. He has served as general secretary of the National Mining and Metal Workers Union since his unanimous election in 2002, and was reelected unanimously for a new six-year term in 2008 in addition to being elected president of the union in 2012. An Oxford-educated economist, Gomez also graduated with honors from the Department of Economics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. For twelve years, he served as director of the Mexican Mint and is the only Mexican to serve as international president of the Mint Directors Conference, a position he held for two years.

Gomez was the 2011 recipient of the AFL-CIO’s prestigious International Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award, and in the same year, he was nominated for the Edelstam Prize and the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights. He is also a member of the executive committee of IndustriALL Global Union, the world’s most powerful union organization. He works closely with leaders of unions around the world, including the United Steelworkers Union of North America.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books; First Edition edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939529220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939529220
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,122,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Johnson VINE VOICE on April 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read this book with no prior knowledge of the incident and subsequent events that occurred in this book. Napoleon Gomez was educated at Oxford and has the credentials in the Mexican and world labor movement. In "Collapse of Dignity" Gomez illustrates many different political, economic, and labor aspects of Mexico related to the Pasta De Conchos mine explosion in 2006, which he characterizes as "industrial homicide. As the reader progresses through this book he/she will realize this was an apt characterization by Gomez. In addition, there are the inter-related Neo-Liberal global economic and political policies of Mexico and the world, with regards the international labor movement and everyone. This is a book - about all of us.

In addition to the Conchos explosion, historical aspects of Mexican miners are presented to tie Mexico's political-economic-and labor history together. You can learn a lot about various aspects of Mexican history in this book.

During the "stabilizer development" period from 1940 to 1970 Mexico experienced economic growth and social harmony. Conditions for miners were generally considered to be sufficient. However, as Mexico began to more deeply enter the international economy in 1980, conditions started to steadily decline. From 1988 onward the governments of Salinas De Gortari and Zedillo, implemented massive privatizations of national Mexican companies in several industries. Most of these companies were given away as great deals to investors. The resulting stock market boom (as usual) benefited big investors. There are specifics on several different large companies (e.g., Grupo Mexico) as well as particular individuals.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Himura on July 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Disclosure: I was given a copy to review.
As a college student studying business, we all have heard about the corruption and malpractices that occur to make more money at the expense of the workers. Napoleon shows and demonstrates how his father and himself were true leaders that cared for the miners. Napoleon's journey to fight for the rights of miners was wrought with attacks from the government and Grupo Mexico. Readers can see how the corruption took its roots in how the miners were treated, the poor safety conditions of the miners, and the lack of benefits for the miners. I believe this book should be used in academia because most business students only hear of this type of corruption. This book is a firsthand account of how the corrupted will react to someone trying to correct the corruption.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Everyone should read this book. It really pulls the blindfold off that we all have over us. Kudos to Napoleon Gomez for having the courage to tell it like it is. Highly recommended. Fast read. This is a book for everyone. These are true events that need to be told. Great job.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Smith on July 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
WOW! I can't remember the last time I picked up a book and was actually annoyed at anyone who interrupted my reading time. I just did not want to put this book down for anything. But then I finished it too quick and was mad at myself because I hate when a good book ends so soon.

I remember hearing about this story on the news and it was great to be able to read the story according to Napoleón Gómez. It is truly a great read and I recommend anyone who was interested in this story when it was all over the news to pick this book up and give it a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alejandro Avendano on July 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a minero from section 271, and live those years of political turbulence and for me and my coleges It is a provider of arguments to understand the complex problematic of abuse to labors and human rights all over the country, specially by Grupo México and Germán Larrea, new colonialist caciques.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary V Seneker on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On February 19, 2006, there was a horrible tragedy at a mine in Mexico. At the scene, the author of this book found what amounted to a cover up. Rather than focusing on saving lives, department inspectors and the company that owned the mine downplayed the the company's role in the collapse, and gave false hope to the families camped out near the mouth of the mine. Less than a week later, all rescue attempts were called off: Scandalous!

This book, written by the head of the miner's union, Napoleon Gomez, speaks the truth about what happened there, like it or not. We can only hope that the US never adopts such a callous attitude towards any group of workers. This book is a bit of a hard read because it does speak the truth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David R on December 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is really made a difference in thinking about life. Wow, I cannot imagine what these people went through when the mine collapsed. It was really so sad and heart breaking. The author made us to travel to the place virtually and made us feel the actual event which happened in Mexico. I never been to a mine in mexico, but I could imagine now, what those poor people go through with minimum wages, un-informed risks and damages. I want to read this book again and again to get hold of the truth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Hooligan @ Platypire Reviews on December 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I was give a copy of this book for review

This book was hard for me to read. Not because I disliked it, quite the opposite, but because the entire time I was reading it I wished I was more than just a reader. It was great to see a story of such an important topic being told that would help people with no previous knowledge of the corruption going on in a way they could easily understand.

I do feel it was a bit too drawn out in some parts, which I found myself skimming through and having to go back more than a couple times to make sure I didn't miss anything. There were many parts of it that could have been cut, as they were nothing but filler.

All and all, it is a book I recommend to anyone who is currently wanting to introduce themselves to this topic.
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