"These collected studies reveal Herbert Gutman's maturation as a major historian, alert to the unexpected connections and contradictions of the integrated social process....He gives back to the pioneers of the American labor movement the dignity of agents...rather than the passivity of vectors of impersonal forces. In doing this, Gutman is also:challenging the sophisticated determinisms and the defeatism which characterise so much of intellectual life in the West today."
"Herbert Gutman is an original and incisive historian, and his new book brilliantly illuminates shadowed corners in the American past."
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
From the Inside Flap
These essays in American working-class and social history, in the words of their author "all share a common theme -- a concern to explain the beliefs and behavior of American working people in the several decades that saw this nation transformed into a powerful industrial capitalist society." The subjects range widely-from the Lowell, Massachusetts, mill girls to the patterns of violence in scattered railroad strikes prior to 1877 to the neglected role black coal miners played in the formative years of the UMW to the difficulties encountered by capitalists in imposing decisions upon workers. In his discussions of each of these, Gutman offers penetrating new interpretations of the signficance of class and race, religion and ideology in the American labor movement.