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The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor Unknown Binding – 1995


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Basic Books (1995)
  • ASIN: B005S0S36K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Toledo on August 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Why have hundreds of books been written about Lincoln, Gandhi and MLK but only a precious few on Walter Reuther? If there was a Mount Rushmore for equality and compassion, Reuther's would be the fourth face.

The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit by Nelson Lichtenstein was published in 1995, some 25 years after Reuther's untimely and - at least to his family - suspicious death in 1970. The book is a 500-page account of Reuther's life in the context of the American Labor Movement. For a scholar or a student writing paper, it is an excellent resource. For most everyone else, it is a laborious read.

Despite the book's dramatic title, Lichtenstein's approach is conservative and backed by 103 pages of end notes. It presents the hair and bones of Reuther - the labor leader who galvanized working-class power so that unionized men and women may live decent lives - lives that included job security and safety, health and retirement benefits and annual wages that allowed for home ownership and a once in a lifetime vacation in Hawaii.

Unfortunately, hair and bones are about all that is left today of this incorruptible good man. There are no bold and original interpretations of his life - in any media. No labor leaders who come close to matching his brilliance as a thinker. No social justice as he envisioned it. There's just a few out of print books.

(Note: At last, there is one creative interpretation of Reuther: the stageplay, "Walter Reuther's Legions." It's new.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Clark on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
biography of the man who paved the way to the 40-hour week, the Peace Corps, and Medicare, among other brilliance
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More About the Author

Nelson Lichtenstein is MacArthur Foundation Chair in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. There he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy. He is the author of more than a dozen books in American labor history and political economy. He is now working on a project entitled "The Return of Merchant Capitalism," a study of merchants, retailers, and supply chains from the era of the British East India Company to Walmart. Lichtenstein's opinion pieces appear in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Dissent, New Labor Forum, and New Politics.

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