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New Leaf Nominations for September 2019 • Labour of Love: Working Class
#11  CRussel 08-02-2019, 02:08 AM
I'm in trouble here. I thought I had two books picked out, but neither one of them is available in either the UK or Australia. Clearly non-starters. I'm going to post them both here, because they are both interesting books in the theme of working class, and both are available on Overdrive in North America for those who might have an interest. Meanwhile, I'll go back and rethink my nominations.

First up, The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon, by William M. Adler, the story of Joe Hill, an IWW (Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies) labor organizer who was convicted of murder in 1914, in Utah.
Quote Goodreads
Spoiler Warning below






In 1914, Joe Hill was convicted of murder in Utah and sentenced to death by firing squad, igniting international controversy. Many believed Hill was innocent, condemned for his association with the Industrial Workers of the World -- the radical Wobblies. Now, following four years of intensive investigation, William M. Adler gives us the first full-scale biography of Joe Hill, and presents never before published documentary evidence that comes as close as one can to definitively exonerating him.

Joe Hill's gripping tale is set against a brief but electrifying moment in American history, between the century's turn and World War I, when the call for industrial unionism struck a deep chord among disenfranchised workers; when class warfare raged and capitalism was on the run. Hill was the union's preeminent songwriter, and in death, he became organized labor's most venerated martyr, celebrated by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and immortalized in the ballad "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night."

The Man Who Never Died does justice to Joe Hill's extraordinary life and its controversial end. Drawing on extensive new evidence, Adler deconstructs the case against his subject and argues convincingly for the guilt of another man. Reading like a murder mystery, and set against the background of the raw, turn-of-the-century West, this essential American story will make news and expose the roots of critical contemporary issues.
The other, also by William M. Adler, is Mollie's Job: A Story of Life and Work on the Global Assembly Line, which traces one job across three different factories.
Quote Goodreads
Spoiler Warning below






Following the flight of one woman's factory job from the United States to Mexico, this compelling work offers a revealing and unprecedented look at the flesh-and-blood consequences of globalization.

In this absorbing and affecting narrative history, investigative journalist William M. Adler traces the migration of one factory job as it passes from the cradle of American industry, Paterson, New Jersey, to rural Mississippi during the turmoil of the civil rights movement, to the burgeoning border city of Matamoros, Mexico. The story of Mollie James, Dorothy Carter, and Balbina Duque, their company, and their communities provides an ideal prism through which to explore the larger issues at the heart of the new economy: the decline of unions and the middle class, the growing gap between rich and poor, public policies rewarding U.S. companies for transferring jobs abroad, and the ways in which "free trade" undermines stable businesses and communities.
Combining a deft historian's touch with first-rate reporting, Mollie's Job is a provocative and fresh perspective on the global economy -- at a time when downsizing is unraveling the American Dream for many working families.
These were books I ran across months ago, looking for something else entirely, and both grabbed my attention as books I'd quite like to read. But they're just not going to work for the NLBC because of availability issues, unfortunately.
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#12  CRussel 08-02-2019, 02:10 AM
Quote astrangerhere
I would like to nominate James Rebank's nonfiction book The Shepherd's Life. From the Wiki blurb:



(There is also a great love and fondness for his working sheepdogs throughout the book!)
Thirded. As someone who religiously watched One Man and His Dog until it was finally taken off the air (and then went and bought the highlights DVD of it), I can't pass this up.
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#13  gmw 08-02-2019, 02:15 AM
I nominate Forty Fathoms Deep by Ion L. Idriess. Published 1937.

Taken from the Author Note at the start of the book:
Quote
Forty Fathoms Deep is part of the story of the pearl seas of north-western Australia. In all but a few instances, I have used names well known in the pearl world of Broome, but have taken care not to hurt susceptibilities. I am conscious I have only gleaned in a field rich with romance. There is material for many books in the adventurous lives of the men who have built up the history and industry of Broome. It is to be hoped that someone more persuasive than I will induce them to sit down and write, or, failing that, sit and talk for the enlightenment and entertainment of fellow Australians.

I am greatly indebted to numerous friends in Broome who have helped me with material and who went to such pains to get for me authentic data.

Hail and farewell, with a warm heart, to Con and old Sebaro, and to all the divers and tenders and seamen who were so patient at explaining the many things I desired to see and know.

To all, a fair wind and a hungry market when the fleets put to sea!

ION L. IDRIESS.
220 pages.

Approximate pricing (from Kobo): USD $4.99, CAD $5.99, GBP £3.95, AUD $6.37

It is good to see some of the Idriess books making it into electronic form, although still only a limited selection (or else I might have nominated The Silver City or maybe Stone of Destiny).

Like many of Idriess's books, Forty Fathoms Deep is not entirely non-fiction and not entirely fiction, but the tales within this are definitely those of the working class. As to a labour of love ... well, if not love then maybe lust.
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#14  issybird 08-02-2019, 08:53 AM
Quote Bookpossum
I would like to nominate A Month in the Country by J L Carr.
For what my opinion is worth, this is a terrific book.
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#15  Catlady 08-02-2019, 11:14 AM
My first nomination is Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream by Bruce Watson (2005, 368 pp.).

Quote
On January 12, 1912, an army of textile workers stormed out of the mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, commencing what has since become known as the "Bread and Roses" strike. Based on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories, Watson reconstructs a Dickensian drama involving thousands of parading strikers from fifty-one nations, unforgettable acts of cruelty, and even a protracted murder trial that tested the boundaries of free speech. A rousing look at a seminal and overlooked chapter of the past, Bread and Roses is indispensable reading.
Quote
Well sourced, evenhanded and briskly paced, Watson's account of the dramatic textile mill strike in Lawrence, Mass., during the icy winter of 1912 presents a panoramic glimpse of a half-forgotten America, one in which violent agitation and swift repression were often the order of the day. The story of how a polyglot mass of immigrants hailing from Syria to Scotland cohered into a powerful bargaining force is riveting in itself, and Watson (The Man Who Changed How Boys and Toys Were Made) places that struggle within the larger currents of reform that were slowly reshaping America. The cast includes self-made mill owner William Wood, who simply couldn't understand how "his" workers could betray him; Joseph Ettor, the union organizer who slept in a different bed every night to avoid reprisals; fiery Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn of the IWW and muckracker Ida Tarbell. The bloody strike was repressed from public memory in the hyperpatriotic years of WWI, later idealized by the labor movement in ways that downplayed union violence. This book's subtitle, and its contents, suggest that the "American Dream" enjoyed by the nation's middle class had to be taken by force by the working class and is by no means a permanent entitlement.
Amazon US, $6.99

Available in all relevant countries and in Overdrive. No audiobook.
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#16  Catlady 08-02-2019, 11:46 AM
I plan to make another nomination, but right now I'm trying to choose among several books.

I wanted to nominate Never Done: A History of American Housework by Susan Strasser, but it's not available everywhere.
Spoiler Warning below






Never Done is the first history of American housework. Beginning with a description of household chores of the nineteenth century--cooking at fireplaces and on cast-iron stoves, laundry done with wash boilers and flatirons, endless water hauling and fire tending--Susan Strasser demonstrates how industrialization transformed the nature of women's work. Lightening some tasks and eliminating the need for others, new commercial processes inexorably altered women's daily lives and relationships--with each other and with the people they served.

In this lively and authoritative book, Strasser weaves together the history of material advances and discussions of domestic service, "women's separate sphere" and the impact of advertising, home economics and women's entry into the workforce.

Hailed as pathbreaking when originally published, Never Done remains an eye-opening examination of daily life in the American past.
Books I'm considering that are available in all relevant countries are

In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
Spoiler Warning below






At once a relentlessly fast-paced, admirably observed novel of social unrest and the story of a young man's struggle for identity, In Dubious Battle is set in the California apple country, where a strike by migrant workers against rapacious landowners spirals out of control, as a principled defiance metamorphoses into blind fanaticism. Caught in the upheaval is Jim Nolan, a once aimless man who find himself in the course of the strike, briefly becomes its leader, and is ultimately crushed in its service.
The Triangle Fire by Leon Stein
Spoiler Warning below






On March 25, 1911, 146 employees of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City were killed in the span of a few minutes because no provision had been made for their safety in the event of fire. The Cornell edition of Leon Stein's 1962 account features 16 illustrations, some never before published. A new introduction by the journalist William Greider makes clear that accounts of dangerous workplaces and sweatshop conditions are still all-too-relevant today, ninety years after the fire. The story of the catastrophe and the doomed Triangle Shirtwaist workers, as told by one of the great labor journalists, will not soon be forgotten.
Strike! by Jeremy Bercher (this one is in KU right now)
Spoiler Warning below






Since its original publication in 1972, no book has done as much as Jeremy Brecher’s Strike! to bring American labor history to a wide audience. Strike! narrates the dramatic story of repeated, massive, and sometimes violent revolts by ordinary working people in America and tells this exciting hidden history from the point of view of the rank-and-file workers who lived it. In this expanded edition, Brecher brings the story up to date with revised chapters that cover the 40 years since the original edition, placing the problems faced by working people today in the context of 140 years of labor history. A new chapter, “Beyond One-Sided Class War” presents the American minirevolts of the 21st century from the Battle of Seattle to Occupy Wall Street and beyond. Essential reading for anyone interested in the historical or present-day situation of American workers, this updated classic serves as inspiration for organizers, activists, and educators working to revive the labor movement today.
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#17  Bookworm_Girl 08-02-2019, 12:00 PM
I nominate Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. It is about a village in the Napoleonic era which has been introduced to machinery and chronicles its effects on the social order.

From Goodreads:
Quote
Following the tremendous popular success of Jane Eyre, which earned her lifelong notoriety as a moral revolutionary, Charlotte Brontë vowed to write a sweeping social chronicle that focused on "something real and unromantic as Monday morning." Set in the industrializing England of the Napoleonic wars and Luddite revolts of 1811-12, Shirley (1849) is the story of two contrasting heroines. One is the shy Caroline Helstone, who is trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of a Yorkshire rectory and whose bare life symbolizes the plight of single women in the nineteenth century. The other is the vivacious Shirley Keeldar, who inherits a local estate and whose wealth liberates her from convention.
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#18  CRussel 08-02-2019, 12:59 PM
Quote Catlady
I plan to make another nomination, but right now I'm trying to choose among several books.

I wanted to nominate Never Done: A History of American Housework by Susan Strasser, but it's not available everywhere.

Books I'm considering that are available in all relevant countries are

In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck

The Triangle Fire by Leon Stein

Strike! by Jeremy Bercher (this one is in KU right now)
Wow, all excellent choices. I'd probably prefer other than the Steinbeck, since I've read a couple of his recently, but all are interesting and thoughtful choices. But either of the other two would be good. One goes into some depth on a single event, while the other has a broader focus on multiple events supporting an overall view. I'd support either.
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#19  CRussel 08-02-2019, 03:21 PM
OK, from Canadian labour history, a fictional book set in the middle of the Winnipeg General Strike. Not quite what I was imagining when I first thought of this theme, but it still sounds quite interesting and well within the theme. Oh, and it's inexpensive and widely available on Amazon. So:

The Silent March by C.M. Klyne.
Quote Goodreads.com
Winnipeg, 1919. The Winnipeg General Strike, the Spanish influenza and a sociopathic personality coalesce to forge a summer of strife, death and hope for a community still suffering the pestilence of the first world war.
Can bacteriologist Dr. Anna Williams, driven by the need to prove herself in a predominantly male research lab and responding to a panicky public health department, overcome the resistant attitudes of her male colleagues, to unlock the mysteries surrounding the deadly influenza virus?
Will the infamous Committee of One Thousand subvert the intentions of the strike leaders and the growing union movement and prevent the spread of Bolshevism upon Canadian soil?
Will Earle Nelson, a murderous sociopath and righteous zealot, force his will upon those he perceives as undesirable and unacceptable?
Follow Klyne’s story as he leads you through the streets of Winnipeg – reliving historical events with brilliant character creations whose intricate paths of emotions, ideas and conflicts culminated in what became known as Bloody Saturday.
AmazonUS: $5.04 USD
AmazonCA: $4.99 CAD
AmazonAU: $6.66 AUD
AmazonUK: £3.59 GBP


No Overdrive and no Audible.
416 Pages.

Goodreads
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#20  issybird 08-02-2019, 07:00 PM
I'm going to second Shirley.
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