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Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520251076
ISBN-10: 0520251075
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bay Area community organizer Shaw (Reclaiming America) examines the enduring influence of the United Farm Workers model of grassroots organization, which he pointedly credits with the majority of labors successes since the 1960s and a wellspring of 21st-century movements for democratic rights. He retells the story of Cesar Chavez and the UFWs unprecedented success in mobilizing a broad coalition as well as winning political clout and material gains for workers through such tactics as boycotts, appeals to spiritual values, fasting and community-centered organizing. Shaw describes a generation of young activists passing through the UFWs crucible of idealism, sacrifice and individual initiative, and into a lifetime of service to social justice causes; indeed, it was the very success of the UFWs campaigns that contributed, ironically, to a gradual power drain on the union in the 1980s. Leading organizers and political strategists like Susan Sachen and Marshall Ganz went on to work for other unions like SEIU or were hired away by mainstream electoral campaigns. Finally, Shaw evaluates the capacities of todays labor movement to build on the UFWs legacy of self-directed, on-the-ground training, political solidarity and far-reaching social idealism. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“A seminal new work not only for historians and devotees of the Chicano Movement, and the UFW in particular, but for all those working for progressive causes.”
(Susan Marie Green The Sixties 2010-06-23)

“Invaluable for anyone interested in the evolution of unionization over the past forty years.”
(T. A. Frank The Washington Monthly 2009-03-01)

“A useful resource for anyone interested in organizing, activism, or social movements.”
(Misslaura Daily Kos 2008-10-26)

“Examines the enduring influence of the United Farm Workers’ model of grassroots organization.” Starred Review
(Publishers Weekly 2008-11-17)

“A thoughtful, informative, and provocative book.”
(Juan R. García Journal Amer Ethnic History 2012-06-01)

“Invaluable for anyone interested in the evolution of unionization over the past forty years.”
(The Washington Monthly 2011-06-03)

“Shows the enduring value of the UFW’s approach . . . on the job and in the community.”
(Bill Knight Labor 2010-06-28)

“[An] important study.”
(Steve Early Z Magazine 2008-12-01)

“Shows the enduring value of the UFW’s approach . . . on the job and in the community.”
(Bill Knight Labor 2010-07-01)

A serious and reflective account.
(Labor Studies Journal 2011-03-31)

“Shaw’s book provides valuable history to guide activists in the battles to come, and is an inspiring read.”
(Chris Tiedemann Talking Union Blog 2009-03-10)

“A useful resource for anyone interested in organizing, activism, or social movements.”
(Misslaura Vot3r Blog 2008-10-27)

“Shaw does a stellar job of writing the history of the UFW and its key figures.”
(Victor Corral Colorlines: Race Culture Action 2009-01-01)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (September 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520251075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520251076
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For me, its greatest strength lies in the author's ability to describe organizing struggles from the past and make them feel fresh and immediate. The "Yes We Cane" chapter (which documents a labor battle in Florida) in particular was a page turner, something rare and difficult to accomplish with historical subject matter.

I also think the author accomplishes one of his stated goals, which was to canonize the important work of these UFW activists - work I would've never known about had I not read this book. The breadth and depth of information uncovered by the author is unbelievable. An all-around excellent read.
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Format: Hardcover
Beyond the Fields follows in the tradition of Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States by providing little known history about the UFW, its organizing tactics and its profound legacy on political activism in America over the past four decades. The book provides a historic overview of the UFW, its leaders-- particularly Cesar Chavez--, its achievements and the lasting impact of tactics developed and used by the UFW on political organizing around the country. Many of the stories of post-UFW social justice struggles in the book are riveting, including the Justice for Janitors campaign in Miami and a history of the national movement for immigrant rights. The book is particularly timely now because of the use of UFW organizing strategies in the ground game to elect Barack Obama. Great as it will be to have Obama in the White House, Obama's election isn't a magic solution to the country's many and deep social problems. Shaw's book provides valuable history to guide activists in the battles to come.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Impact of farm workers becoming leaders.
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By JF on February 24, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
excellent
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