These are not your parents’ labor unions—an excellent introduction to a burgeoning and necessary movement.

ON THE JOB

THE UNTOLD STORY OF WORKER CENTERS AND THE NEW FIGHT FOR WAGES, DIGNITY, AND HEALTH

Monforton, director of the Beyond OSHA Project, and journalist Von Bergen tell the neglected story of the “nationwide worker center movement” that champions the rights of immigrants and others.

In 2018, when a Texas poultry plant gave its workers too few bathroom breaks, diaper-wearing protesters showed up carrying a sign that said, “Let My People Pee.” Organized by the Centro de Derechos Laborales in Bryan, the demonstration led to an immediate improvement in conditions at the plant, and it’s among the surprisingly effective tactics described in this well-reported survey of many of the 225 community labor organizations known as “worker centers,” which fight “exploitation and oppression” on the job. Unlike labor unions that serve members in related trades, worker centers educate and advocate for workers “marginalized because of language, because of immigration status, because their jobs as domestic workers isolate them, or because their employment status is murky as gig or temp agency workers.” With less government regulation than unions, worker centers have won political victories or performed services that have often flown under the radar. In Chicago, Arise Chicago and other groups successfully lobbied the city to create the Office of Labor Standards to enforce minimum wage and other laws, and in Los Angeles, the Pilipino Workers Center rented houses for workers who had to quarantine during the pandemic. In New York, the Gig Workers Collective, a virtual center for Instacart and other shoppers, teamed up with Amazon warehouse workers for a protest in which activists posed next to body bags outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, urging him to do more to protect Amazon workers. A work of journalism rather than history, the book offers little about the precursors of the centers, such as mutual aid societies, but it more than makes its case that “labor activism is not a quaint notion from days gone by.”

These are not your parents’ labor unions—an excellent introduction to a burgeoning and necessary movement.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62097-501-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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