Download Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working by Jefferson R. Cowie PDF

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By Jefferson R. Cowie

Winner of the Society of yankee Historians’ 2011 Francis Parkman Prize

A wide-ranging cultural and political historical past that might eternally redefine a misunderstood decade, Stayin’ Alive is a notable account of the way working-class the US hit the rocks within the political and monetary upheavals of the Seventies. during this edgy and incisive book—part political intrigue, half hard work heritage, with huge doses of yank song, movie, and television lore&mdashCowie, with “an ear for the ability and poetry of vernacular speech” (Cleveland undeniable Dealer), finds America’s interesting and little-understood course from the emerging earning and optimism of the recent Deal to the widening fiscal inequalities and dampened expectancies of the present.

Hailed by way of Rick Perlstein in The Nation as “one [of] our such a lot commanding interpreters of contemporary American experience,” prizewinning hard work historian Jefferson Cowie takes us from the manufacturing facility flooring of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit to the Washington of Nixon, Ford, and Carter, connecting politics and tradition, and displaying how the large monitor and the jukebox may help us know the way the USA grew to become clear of the radicalism of the Nineteen Sixties and towards the patriotic promise of Ronald Reagan.

Published to nice acclaim in hardcover, Stayin’ Alive captures not anything lower than the defining features of a brand new era—a heritage with profound relevance for our personal times.

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Extra resources for Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class

Sample text

32 Steel Workers Local 65. South Chicago, 1973 To believe, as so many did, that the MFD struggle was more than a passing flash, one only had to look at the steel workers where an almost equally dramatic story was unfolding in the heart of basic steel. If ever there was a contest between the complacency of the golden age labor relations system and the insurgencies of the seventies, it emerged from the slate and fire skies over South Works Local 65. Enter Eddie Sadlowski. ” He was only twenty-five years old when he was elected president of South Works Local 65 and earned a great deal of rank-and-fi le support with a refreshing combination of youth, tough-talking populism, and street-wise class consciousness.

But Eddie knew where he stood. “Fuck you. It’s romantics and fighters who change the world. ”37 ol d fas h ion e d h e r oe s of t h e n e w wor k i ng c l as s 41 At the microphone Sadlowski tended to ramble and lacked the eloquent turns of phrase of his hero John L. Lewis. Yet he brought issues of race, the war, the environment, distribution of wealth and power, and quality of work life constantly to the forefront of his discussions. On issues of race, for instance, Sadlowski’s leadership was particularly strong.

They’d talk to people. Most of them, their fathers was old coal miners. Maybe retired. ” It helped. 23 The final, if elusive, variable in the eventual success of the miners’ upsurge was the federal government. The hope for the insurgencies in coal and beyond rested, oddly enough, with a business-backed law, the 1959 Landrum-Griffin 34 hope in t he confusion, – Act (Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act or LMRDA). The act provided for federal oversight of unions in order, claimed the law’s advocates, to protect workers and industry from communism and corruption.

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