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Three Strikes: The Fighting Spirit of Labor’s Last Century


Publisher Comments:

 

When the National Guard arrived in Ludlow, Colorado, in the fall of 1913, striking coal miners cheered. Five months later the Guard opened fire on them and their families. So begins Three Strikes, a collaboration by acclaimed American historians.

 

Howard Zinn tells the grim tale of the Ludlow Massacre, a drama of beleaguered immigrant workers, Mother Jones, and the politics of corporate power in the age of the robber barons. Next, a victory: Dana Frank brings to light the little-known story of a sit-in conducted by the counter girls at the Detroit Woolworth’s during the Great Depression. The young women slept on the floor, played games and sang songs together, and enjoyed the attention of an amused and curious press. All their demands for better pay and benefits were met. Robin D.G. Kelley’s story of a movie theater musicians’ strike in New York asks what defines work. Not considered workers, the musicians failed even to agree on demands, and could not prevent members of other unions from crossing their picket lines.

 

In a world of corporate influence in Washington, protests against Wal-Marts, and disappearing jobs, Three Strikes reminds us that today’s issues have long and deep-running roots.

 

Book News Annotation:

 

A collection of three long essays which collectively examine the past in order to shed light on conflicts and issues that the labor movement faces today. Zinn (best known for his book examines the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913-14 and the strikers repression by the coal companies and the state which resulted in the infamous Ludlow Massacre. Frank (American studies, U. of California) tells the story of the female sit-down strikers who occupied the large chain store Woolworth’s during the Great Depression. Finally, the failed effort of movie house musicians to fight the loss of their jobs due to the introduction of the new technology of the "talkies" is explored by Kelley (history, NYU), who emphasizes the contradictions when the interests of one working class group are countered by the consumption wants of a larger group of the working class.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

 

Synopsis:

 

Three renowned historians present stirring tales of labor: Howard Zinn tells the grim tale of the Ludlow Massacre, a drama of beleaguered immigrant workers, Mother Jones, and the politics of corporate power in the age of the robber barons. Dana Frank brings to light the little-known story of a successful sit-in conducted by the "counter girls" at the Detroit Woolworth’s during the Great Depression. Robin D. G. Kelley’s story of a movie theater musicians’ strike in New York asks what defines work in times of changing technology.

 

"Three Strikes brings to life the heroic men and women who put their jobs, bodies, and lives on the line to win a better life for all working Americans. Zinn, Frank, and Kelley show us that while the country and the union movement have changed greatly in the last hundred years, our struggle to close the divide between rich and poor remains the same."

 

—John Sweeney, president, AFL-CIO

 

"Provocative analysis of still relevant issues, as the passionate, sometimes violent demonstrations at international meetings of the global economy demonstrate."

 

—Mary Carroll, Booklist

 

"Highly readable, well-researched narratives of dramatic action"

 

—Leon Fink, Chicago Tribune

 

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About the Author

 

Howard Zinn is a teacher, historian, and social activist, and the author of many books, including the best-selling A People’s History of the United States and You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train. He lives in Auburndale, Massachusetts. Dana Frank, professor of American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is author of the award-winning Buy American. Robin D. G. Kelley, professor of history at New York University, is the author of Race Rebels and Yo’ Mama’s Disfunktional!

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