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Down on the Killing Floor: Black and White Workers in Chicago's Packinghouses, 1904-54 (Working Class in American History) Paperback – August 1, 1997

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0252066337 ISBN-10: 0252066332 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An ideal case study to analyze one of the central problems in American labor history -- the relationship between racial identity and working class formation and organization." -- James R. Barrett, author of Work and Community in the Jungle: Chicago's Packinghouse Workers
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Product Details

  • Series: Working Class in American History
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252066332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252066337
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rick Halpern is the Dean and Vice-Principal at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He is a specialist in modern U.S. history, and has written extensively on race and labour in a number of national and transnational contexts. He earned his BA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and his MA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon completion of his doctorate in 1989, he joined the Department of History, University College London as a Lecturer and was later promoted to Reader. He joined the University of Toronto in 2001 as the first Bissell-Heyd Professor of American Studies in the Department of History. Following terms as Associate Director and then Acting Director, Professor Halpern served as Director of the Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk Centre for International Studies from 2004 to 2006. He is a Senior Fellow at Massey College, and from 2006 to 2009 served as Principal of New College. Currently he is working on studies of diasporic foodways in Canada, working class culture and politics in 1919 Chicago, and documentary photography in apartheid era South Africa.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
Rick B Halpern is a renowned commentator on the American Meatpacking Industry, and in this meticolusly researched book he chronicles the results of years of inquiry into what Chicago proletarians in hushed tones refer to as 'the big slaughterhouse.' Don't be put off by the picture of the Cow being killed on the front - there's plenty more meat inside and it's not covered in blood and guts. I was particularly impressed by his use of oral history. Too many modern historians ignore this valuable resource, but Halpern is a man on a mission and no lack of written records is going to get in his way. Overall, I found this book was a valuable contribution to an underresearched area and I believe should be read by anyone interested in modern Northern American Labour history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best labor history books I've read: it is scholarly, no doubt about that, but SO, SO "readable." Almost like a novel at points. It's important, too, because it sheds much light on the way in which blacks and whites managed to unite around common interests. It also makes wonderful use of oral histories, so that the characters really come to life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This 1997 book is the result of the joint research into the activities and history of the packing houses that operated in the Chicago Stockyards by Roger Horowitz and Rick Halpern. The scope of this particular book extends from 1904 until 1954 and deals largely with the unionization of the packing companies in Chicago during that time. This book is really the first of two books on the Chicago Stockyards that was based on the same Horowitz and Halpern research. Another 1997 book "Negro and White Unite and Fight" by Roger Horowitz provides additional history on the unionization of the meatpacking plants of the Chicago Stockyards for the period of time from 1930 until 1990. Both of these books provide a view into the use of work stoppages and work slowdowns as a direct action by which workers could obtain what they want to improve their working conditions.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Interested in buying this book, or the one on meatpackers by Roger Horowitz? See the symposium on Halpern and Horowitz's work in the journal _Labor History_ 40:2 (1999). They have also jointly authored a collection of oral history interviews -- all available from Amazon
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Down on the Killing Floor: Black and White Workers in Chicago's Packinghouses, 1904-54 (Working Class in American History)
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