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The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945–1968

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945–1968.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Kevin Boyle(Author)

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"Kevin Boyle has done a masterful job of identifying the unique contribution of the UAW, not only to American Liberalism, but also to the nation and to all people. As contemporary labor and society at large search for new directions, this book should be required reading."―Victor G. Reuther


"One of the many virtues of Kevin Boyle's brilliant and important history, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, is that it provides a clear picture of the road not taken."―The American Prospect"Intelligent, well written, and exhaustively researched, . . . Boyle's work . . . is part of an important and increasingly favorable reevaluation of the character of late New Deal social democracy."―Journal of American History"Boyle's book presents, with a remarkably assured tone and a mastery of materials, a persuasive narrative of the shortcomings of postwar liberalism from the labor perspective that was so important then and is so often ignored today."―American Political Science Review"This book constitutes a compelling argument that throughout the immediate post-war decades, the union's leadership under Reuther attempted to construct a cross-class, biracial reform coalition in the United States. . . . The role and influence of institutions in the making of history is surely an argument that labour historians ignore at their own peril. Post-war United States labour historical scholarship has been surely enriched by Boyle pointing that out in such a compelling fashion."―Harry Knowles, University of Sydney. The Journal of Industrial Relations. September, 2000. Current political observers castigate organized labor as more interested in winning generous contracts for workers than in fighting for social change. The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism offers a compelling reassessment of labor's place in American politics in the post-World War II era. The United Automobile Workers, Kevin Boyle demonstrates, was deeply involved in the pivotal political struggles of those years, from the fight for full employment to the battle for civil rights, from the anticommunist crusade to the war on poverty. The UAW engaged in these struggles in an attempt to build a cross-class, multiracial reform coalition that would push American politics beyond liberalism and toward social democracy. The effort was in vain; forced to work within political structures - particularly the postwar Democratic party - that militated against change, the union was unable to fashion the alliance it sought. The UAW's political activism nevertheless suggests a new understanding of labor's place in postwar American politics and of the complex forces that defined liberalism in that period. The book also supplies the first detailed discussion of the impact of the Vietnam War on a major American union and shatters the popular image of organized labor as being hawkish on the war. Engrossing and richly developed, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism draws on extensive research in the records of the UAW and in papers of leading liberals, including Martin Luther King Jr., Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Adlai Stevenson.

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Book details

  • PDF | 360 pages
  • Kevin Boyle(Author)
  • Cornell University Press; Reprint edition (June 25, 1998)
  • English
  • 9
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Review Text

  • By [email protected] on June 19, 1999

    This is a great 'hidden wonder' of recent American Labor History. As an unabashed and truly proud pro-labor, pro-New Deal and pro-working class Democrat and Progressive("Progressive" in the real, tough and true sense, not the ACLU-'save the spotted owl' and 'hug a treee' sense), I loved this book as both a study in recent history, and a tribute to one of the greatest movements ever produced on God's green earth. The American Labor movement - as comparatively small as it may be - is one of this nation's greatest movements, alongside the abolitionist and civil rights ones. In the past 100 years, this movement, along with its allies in the Democratic party and other forward looking sections of the U.S., has given us the 40 Hour Work Week, the Minimum Wage, child labor laws, public works, Social Security, the safety net, Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, consumer safety laws, public employment programs for the at-risk, OSHA and various anti-discrimination laws. This is the movement which has dared to look into the face of greed and demand true justice. This is the grand story of the United Auto Workers - and their heroic leader, Mr. Walter Reuther - and their quest into traditional American liberalism in the Democratic party. Their quest for true social justice was never achieved, yet, their aims remain those of many forward looking, compassionate and decent Americans who know that the shaft of the workers is one which hurts not only these men and women on the job, but their families, loved ones and community in general. The book is right when, in the end, it states that we need forward looking voices like the UAW in our culture to demand an end to injustice and keep the forces of injustice in check. We need voices to stand up to right wing efforts to scale back labor laws for the working man and woman, civil rights and health care, day care, family leave and wage oriented legislation of the past. We need more moral voices for American workers and their allies across the world. This book is such a voice. I especially loved the part of George Wallace. This bigoted demagogue constantly exploited the working class by giving out racist rhetoric which was - as some saw it unfortunately - 'pro worker.' Wallace's current followers of the past 20 years include Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Newt Gingrich and the Lott/Delay gang in the Congress. All of these overlook - and ignore - class in order to protect their rich special interests. Instead, they bash the welfare mother, the immigrant and the ghetto child - and call that 'progress.' May the American labor movement not only stop falling, but may it rise again to successfully demand justice for the working American and his or her family. God would want nothing more from us.

  • By Claudie14 on July 11, 2015

    Not nearly as vivid or detailed as Bob Morris's "Built in Detroit," but a good reference book nonetheless.


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