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Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1781680667
ISBN-10: 1781680663
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Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

Trampling Out the Vintage serves as both a cautionary and inspirational tale that delimits the profound reach of grassroots field organizing, while also detailing the inward-looking drift of a labor leadership that wound up crowding out the key concerns of the union's own members. Bardacke, a former social-justice activist, farmworker, and labor educator, is a deft and sensitive storyteller, and he's produced an affecting portrait of both Chavez and the rank-and-file agricultural workers who aided his rise to power. —Richard Greenwald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Bardacke is a talented writer, burning with rage against injustice, and his subject is one of the most attractive and charismatic figures US politics has produced.”—The Guardian

“An ... intelligent, thorough history. [Chavez’s] truth is marching on.”—The Economist

“[M]agnificent and tragic history... Bardacke’s enormously insightful and nuanced book thus radically reconfigures the social, political, and moral narrative with which most Americans have understood the history of the farm worker movement and its leadership.”—Dissent

“[T]he first comprehensive history of the rise and fall of the UFW, written from the viewpoint of the farmworkers who vitalized the movement known as ‘La Causa.’”—San Francisco Chronicle

“The best history ever written of the United Farm Workers (UFW) and Cesar Chavez. Certain to become a classic of U.S. working class history.”—Upside Down World

“Frank Bardacke has written the comprehensive history of the United Farm Workers, a definitive biography of Cesar Chavez and a magnificent guide to the politics and sociology of the 1960s-80s. Deserves #1 ranking as best labor history of the year.”—Daily Censored

“In his superb new book Frank Bardacke reports that by the 1970s, UFW organizing had gotten so strong that wages on some highly skilled farmworker crews earned $12 per hour—’more than 48 dollar in today’s money. Even the lowest-paid field workers in the late 1970s made more than one and a half times the minimum wage”—Mother Jones

“[A] detailed and impeccably researched history of the UFW ... a clear-eyed narrative and analysis of the successes and mistakes made by a group of men and women trying to organize a section of the US working class notoriously difficult to organize. [A]n expansive, readable study of one of the more meaningful struggles of the twentieth century and an instruction book for anyone interested in organizing workers to regain the wealth that they create.”—Ron Jacobs

“In the era of so many book-a-year authors, Trampling Out the Vintage has a lifetime-achievement feel ... [It] skillfully tells the dramatic story of the rise and fall of the UFW, but what makes this a landmark book is its emphasis on the rank-and-file leaders, who are too often obscured by the long shadow cast by Chavez. It is these workers who are the heroes of Bardacke’s book—workers whose leadership was essential to the union’s success, and whose betrayal contributed to its eventual demise.”—The Nation

“A radically honest, uncompromising and often painful deconstruction of the legend of Cesar Chavez, Trampling Out the Vintage is one of the long-awaited books of our time. Having spent almost a decade as an agricultural worker in California’s Pajaro Valley (where he still lives), Bardacke’s account evokes the spirit of Steinbeck, resurrecting the true heroes of La Causa—the rank and file fieldworkers—and reminding us that the grapes of wrath still remain to be harvested for social justice.”—Mike Davis
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781680663
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781680667
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Paul M. Buhle on October 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a landmark volume: Bardacke has delivered the most important history of Mexican-American unionism as well as the most detailed history of workplace life in any major US business since David Montgomery's works of the 1960s-80s. Trampling Out the Vintage is also the poignant tale of an icon imploded, Cesar Chavez pulling down the UFW with him, or being pulled down by the impossibility of organizing agricultural labor. Bardacke, a 1960s Berkeley campus leader who took to the fields and personally introduced the long-handled hoe in Watsonville, interviewed hundreds of UFW activists and catches the nuances that only oral history can reach. It's an incredible book.
Paul Buhle
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Format: Hardcover
I have been studying and writing about the United Farm Workers since the 1970s. This is, without a doubt, the best book ever written on the UFW, Cesar Chavez, farm workers, and farm labor. Three things set it apart from other books: 1. It pays attention to farm workers themselves, the nature of their work and their history of organization against the growers. 2. Bardacke examines the life of Chavez in greater and better detail than any one else. We see that Chavez's strategies and tactics as president of the UFW flowed naturally from his past. 3. The UFW is situated in the history of the times--the War in Vietnam, the left-liberal split, the politics of the AFL-CIO, California politics. The writing is stellar, and the depth of original research is amazing. A tour de force for certain.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For four decades, many of us who worked as volunteers for United Farm Workers union in the 1960s wondered if someone would ever come forward to separate Cesar Chavez the man from Cesar Chavez the myth. Well, that somebody is Frank Bardacke, whose book combines the skills of a top investigative journalist with a refreshing writing style and the careful documentation of a trained historian. Bardacke shows how Chavez labored painstakingly to build his movement, then eventually dismantled it, brick by brick, until he stood alone, abandoned by his staff, his volunteers, and the farm workers he sought to serve. Trampling Out the Vintage belongs in every library and school. It should be required reading for anyone interested in social movements, labor history, and ethnic studies. Bardacke's treatment of Chavez and the UFW is both an inspiring story and a cautionary tale. I hope it sparks endless debates and discussions.

Mark R.Day

(Day is the author of Forty Acres: Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers, Praeger: 1971)
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By Marjo Tobe on December 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a magnificent history of the California farm workers' movement. It is also just plain magnificent history, akin to Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters in its sweep, and possibly better written. Different from all the recent books on Chavez and the union because, surrounded by the larger story of the political time, at its heart are the men and women who picked the crops, fashioned the tools, struck the fields, took a stand when no one expected; worked and loved and bled to shape their own history. Chavez's story is one among many, and it's astonishing: he is brilliant and flawed, a grand strategist and a blinkered Machiavellian, and fundamentally distrustful of the workers in the fields. And are the fields also a subject here! You will never eat another stalk of celery or broccoli or a wedge of iceberg lettuce without thinking about what it took to get it from the ground to your plate. This is such a moving book, so dramatic, so heartbreaking in parts, so thrilling in others, and overall just so smart. In the stacks of social movement literature, in the stacks of historical nonfiction, it is one of the finest, most stirring and tragic books ever. People talk about instant classics; this is one of them.
Do a friend a favor, do yourself a favor, and buy it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Frank Bardacke's long-anticipated history of the rise and fall of Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers was worth the wait. It is a masterful piece of history, the definitive account of the UFW, and places Bardacke immediately among the finest labor historians of our time. This book is not only masterful, but a labor of love that comes through on every page.

Bardacke, a respected labor activist and educator based in Watsonville California, shares little with Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, except that he too dropped out of Harvard after his freshman year and moved west to change the world. Unlike them, he joined the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and has had an abiding interest in radical politics ever since. Amazon sells a picture from this period here, taken about the time I first met him.Vintage photo of Close up of Frank Bardacke.

Bardacke became a farmworker – one of a handful of Anglos and surely one of the only former Harvard students to work the celery fields. He became fluent in Spanish and formed friendships with many of the union staff and farmworkers who appear in his book. He spent more than a decade interviewing every major participant in the drama, reading every known book on the farmworkers and scouring every archive. He received help in managing this massive project from faculty in history and politics at nearby UC Santa Cruz. The result is history as epic, almost Shakespearean drama, delivered with intelligence and compassion.
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