DELANO: The Story of the California Grape Strike by John Gregory Dunne

DELANO: The Story of the California Grape Strike

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It began in 1965 with a series of contretemps that drew national publicity, boycott support, and a number of young volunteers, some more self-important than informed. Here is the data: about the National Farm Workers Association, formed and sustained by Cesar Chavez, latterly merged with the AFL-CIO organizing committee...and its adversaries, the grapegrowing ""agri-businessmen"" of the San Joaquin Valley. Dunne, a magazine writer, did a good deal of legwork. His observations and interviews (with everyone from local police to Sol Alinsky the community organizer) display the competence and faint cynicism of a crack reporter. He discusses the relevant labor legislation and lack thereof, the Teamsters stake in the conflict, and finds a Thirties flavor in it all--redbaiting and violence from the growers and townspeople, who insisted that ""our Workers are happy, they don't want a Union,"" steinbeckian living conditions on some of the grape farms, the right to collective bargaining as a live, bitter issue. Sometimes Dunne confuses objectivity with neutrality. Nonetheless the book provides, on balance, dispassionately strong support for the workers' demands, A fast-paced, important little documentary.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1967
ISBN: 0520254333
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux