April 1, 2014
Since its original publication in 1972, no book has done as much as Jeremy Brecher’s Strike! to bring American labor history to a wide audience. Strike! narrates the dramatic story of repeated, massive, and sometimes violent revolts by ordinary working people in America. It tells this exciting hidden history from the point of view of the rank-and-file workers who lived it.
In this expanded edition, Jeremy Brecher brings the story up to date. Revised chapters covering the forty years since the original edition place the problems faced by working people today in the context of 140 years of labor history. A new chapter, “Beyond One-Sided Class War,” presents the American mini-revolts of the twenty-first century, from the Battle of Seattle to Occupy Wall Street and beyond. Strike! is essential reading for anyone interested in the historical or present-day situations of American workers and serves as inspiration for organizers, activists, and educators working to revive the labor movement today.
Strike! Revised and Expanded: A Review
By Diego Báez (Booklist.com)
AUGUST 14, 2014
Brecher’s riveting primer on modern American labor history catalogs U.S. workers’ movements from the railroad strikes and Great Upheaval of July 1877 to the mass demonstrations and Haymarket affair of 1886 to Great Depression protests and Vietnam-era revolt to Time’s declaration of “The Protester” as person of the year in 2011. Brecher dives inside the everyday struggles of rank-and-file workers and provides a thoroughly researched, alternative history rarely mentioned in textbooks or popular media. Each chapter contextualizes the wide array of tactics workers have employed to negotiate fair wages and humane working conditions since the nineteenth century, such as collective bargaining, organized protest, nonviolent resistance, and armed conflict. This edition (the first was published in 1972) includes additional chapters on the Battle of Seattle, which disrupted the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization, and Occupy Wall Street, which inspired demonstrations across the country. Not surprisingly, Brecher’s text has been updated and reissued numerous times because of its compelling narrative style and exhaustive documentation. An important compendium, to be read alongside the books of Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, and Noam Chomsky.
“An exciting history of American labor. Brings to life the flashpoints of labor history. Scholarly, genuinely stirring.”
—New York Times
“Splendid…clearly the best single-volume summary yet published of American general strikes.”
“One of the most important books on labor history published since World War II.”
—Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States
“A magnificent book. I hope it will take its place as the standard history of American labor.”
“Brecher’s stories are interesting and exciting, his prose colorful, his quotes well chosen.”
PM Press – Purchase Strike!