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The Labor Question in America: Economic Democracy in the Gilded Age (Working Class in American History (Paperback)) Paperback – January 7, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"This is an important work, one of the most important recent books, not only in labor history, but in social theory.  Filled with insights and surprising twists, it repays a careful reading and rereading.  It is a model study; I have added it to my graduate reading lists and urge everyone to do the same."--Labor History

 "This book is a valuable contribution to the history of the Gilded Age, as it provides scholars of the period with a concise intellectual history to better position studies of workers themselves."--Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas


"A compelling case that economic democracy requires the full participation of the American working class in the economic life of the nation as both workers and consumers."--H-Net Reviews


"Currarino's book will enable readers to understand the transformations that took place during the Gilded Age, not only in the minds of workers but in American society as a whole.  Altogether, the book is an impressive accomplishment."--Business History Review

"Currarino has identified a vital shift in the debate over the meaning of democracy in a nation where such a large portion of its citizens were dependent upon others for their livelihoods."--American Historical Review

"This splendidly researched cultural and intellectual history of the 'labor question' during the Gilded Age offers a masterful explanation of the move from a producerist to a consumerist understanding of citizenship and labor. The Labor Question in America will be widely read by students and scholars of the labor movement, the development of twentieth-century liberalism, and the history of the Gilded Age."--Lawrence M. Lipin, author of Workers and the Wild: Conservation, Consumerism, and Labor in Oregon, 1910-30

"Rosanne Currarino has provided a nuanced, deeply informed reading of the complex intellectual and cultural currents that shaped the labor question in the late nineteenth century.  This is quite simply a marvelously informative book."--The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

"More a cultural history of the debates over the role of labor in American life than a history of labor activities themselves.  This book packs a surprisingly large volume of historical content and sophisticated argument into a slim volume."--History Teacher

About the Author


Rosanne Currarino is an associate professor of history at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


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Product Details

  • Series: Working Class in American History (Paperback)
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (January 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252077865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252077869
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,727,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Klaus Hansen on March 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
It was in the "Gilded Age" that the "labor question"--the equitable distribution of the fruits of labor and the participation of all citizens in American society--appeared in its "modern" form. Each generation since has arrived at a compromise solution, no answers entirely satisfactory to all participants. Even as I write this, echoes of continuing struggle reverberate from the state capitol of Wisconsin (and other locales). An enormous literature has addressed this question over time--the latest being Professor Currarino's impressively-researched, astutely-analyzed, convincingly-argued, original tour-de-force.
Well-written and thought-provoking, this is a must-book for our time, an example of how history at its best can be a great teacher.
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