FAMOUS LABOR LEADERS by Patricia Daniels


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Considering that Selvin's Champions of Labor (1967) are the identical twelve plus Debs; that Selvin is better qualified and better-spoken and that his book is consequently more astute and more fluent--that it is, in substance, a personalized history of the American labor movement; that it is also buttressed for reference purposes with ti glossary of labor terms, concise biographical data on each subject and an annotated bibliography--all of which this lacks. . . the conclusion is inescapable. Daniels, however, isn't only a later and lesser entry, it's also deficient in its historical judgments (e.g. of the degree of upward mobility prior to the Industrial Revolution; of the ""violent"" nature of 19th century socialism {vis a vis today] ignoring its utopian and gradualist strands). Most especially it is so imprecise as to be often impenetrable (many references to undefined ""quarrels"" from Sylvis to Meany and Reuther; no explanation of why the A. F. of L. rejected industrial unionization and thus precipitated the 1935 break) and sometimes inconsistent (re Green, reference to his and Dubinsky's petition to FDR for visas for ""leaders"" threatened by the Nazis; re Dubinsky, the same incident apropos of ""labor leaders""). Some of the sections notably those on Hillman and Dubinsky are fairly successful iii projecting the individual but collectively the assemblage has no bargaining position.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1970
Publisher: Dodd, Mead