By studying the ways in which American industrial workers mobilized concerted action in their own interest, the author focuses on the workplace itself, examining the codes of conduct developed by different types of workers and the connections between their activity at work and their national origins and neighborhood life. David Montgomery, Farnam Professor of History at Yale University since 1979, is the author of Worker's Control in America (CUP, 1979) and is co-editor of the journal International Labor and Working Class History.
"David Montgomery...both exemplifies and transcends the recent trend toward painstakingly detailed social history...he has undertaken a far vaster project than most contemporary labor historians would attempt: American labor activism of all varieties and locales, from the time when American workers organized the first tentative but recognizable trade unions, in the mid-nineteenth century, to the emergence of the working class as an insurrectionary force during the first two decades of the twentieth century, to its humiliating defeat in the years following the First World War...the closest thing we have...to E.P. Thompson's monumental book, The Making of the English Working Class." Barbara Ehrenreich, in The Atlantic "...the most sweeping portrait of working-class life to emerge from the new labor history...a subtle, complex, often brilliant study..." Alan Brinkley in the New Republic