CHAMPIONS OF LABOR by David F. Selvin

CHAMPIONS OF LABOR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The format--biographical sketches of thirteen labor leaders--is Just a formality; fundamentally this is a history of the American labor movement from 1855 to the reconciliation of the AFL and CIO, with a few afterthoughts. Individuals are Selected for the significance of their role in the erratic growth and evolution of unions and treated in detail only so long as they contribute; then the torch passes to the next person. Librarians may want to check the line-up against their present holdings--William Sylvis, Terence Powderly, Gompers, Debs, Haywood, Green, Lewis, Hillman, Dubinsky, Murray, Reuther, Meany, Randolph--but the book as a whole should also be balanced against other labor histories, and here it comes off very well--it's at least as lucid as Shippen and Paradis, and more pointed and probing than either. Selvin is good on such intractables as Big Bill Haywood, the miner with a mission who led the IWW, and the ineffectual William Green--every champion is not a hero. Personalities and issues--""present and practical improvement"" vs. Socialism, direct political action vs. exerting influence, trade vs. industrial unionism, the Negro--suplemented with a glossary of labor terminology, brief biographical data on each of the subjects, and an especially interesting descriptive, evaluative bibliography.

Pub Date: Dec. 27th, 1967
Publisher: Abelard-Schuman