Review: “Recent History of the Labor Movement in the United States: 1918-1939” – ed. B. Y. Mikhailov

This is the first volume in a three-volume series by Progress Publishers examining the US labour movement from 1918 to 1980. Although the title of the book and of the series is the “Recent History of the Labor Movement in the United States,” there was actually very little history in the book. The book is an economic analysis of the conditions confronting the labour movement in the United States, not a history of the labour movement itself. Indeed, the largest strikes that occurred during these years – the Steel Strike of 1919, the Battle of Blair Mountain of 1921, and the Great Railroad Strike of 1922 – receive only cursory analysis, and then mostly of the conditions that led to them, not the conduct and experience of the strikes themselves.

This was somewhat disappointing to me. I was really hoping for a William Z. Foster-style analysis of the strikes themselves and not an exclusively economic analysis of the conditions in the US that led to said strikes, which I am already familiar with. Maybe Vol. 2 will be better (doubt it).

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