A new and compact biography of the pioneering labor leader. For those who prefer not to plod through Haywood's own slanted...

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BIG BILL"" HAYWOOD

A new and compact biography of the pioneering labor leader. For those who prefer not to plod through Haywood's own slanted autobiography, Bill Haywood's Book, or Peter Carlson's longer and definitive biography, Roughneck (1983), Dubofsky offers a short encapsulation of the life of this early labor militant. Thankfully, he does not sacrifice completeness for length, managing to provide a detailed explanation of the forces that pushed Haywood to his radical stance; and he writes a fair-minded book as well. While obviously sympathetic to labor, Dubofsky presents Haywood warts-and-all, whether chronicling his shabby treatment of his family, his consorting with prostitutes, or the final, unhappy days in the Soviet Union. But it is about Haywood's early and active years in the American labor movement that Dubofsky is most informative. He takes the reader from Big Bill's youth in Utah to his work with the Western Federation of Miners, a bastion of the new blend of industrial unionism and political socialism. After the 1903 Cripple Creek mining squabble, Haywood's fate was sealed: he ""entered the conflict as a full-time union official, a part-time agitator and equivocal revolutionary; he left a part-time union official, full-time agitator and dedicated revolutionary."" From then on, Haywood's life was fraught with the side-effects of anti-government militancy: just barely acquitted for the murder of a former Governor of Iowa, sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for espionage and antiwar propagandizing during WW I, refused a release by Woodrow Wilson, and, finally, jumping bail to flee to the Soviet Union, where he lived out his days. Dubofsky explores not only the labor mentality but also that of the authorities who pursued Haywood and others like him with the full impact of the law and sub-legal coercion. Succinct yet informative: a useful introduction to one of labor's heroes.

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987