Fight Like Hell
A revelatory and inclusive history of the American labor movement, from independent journalist and Teen Vogue labor columnist Kim Kelly.
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The Untold History of American Labor
By Kim Kelly
Atria/One Signal Publishers
Freed Black women organizing for protection in the Reconstruction-era South. Jewish immigrant garment workers braving deadly conditions for a sliver of independence. Asian American fieldworkers rejecting government-sanctioned indentured servitude across the Pacific. Incarcerated workers advocating for basic human rights and fair wages. The queer Black labor leader who helped orchestrate America’s civil rights movement. These are only some of the working-class heroes who propelled American labor’s relentless push for fairness and equal protection under the law.
The names and faces of countless silenced, misrepresented, or forgotten leaders have been erased by time as a privileged few decide which stories get cut from the final copy: those of women, people of color, LGBTQIA people, disabled people, sex workers, prisoners, and the poor. In this definitive and assiduously researched work of journalism, Teen Vogue columnist and independent labor reporter Kim Kelly excavates that untold history and shows how the rights the American worker has today—the forty-hour workweek, workplace-safety standards, restrictions on child labor, protection from harassment and discrimination on the job—were earned with literal blood, sweat, and tears.
Fight Like Hell comes at a time of economic reckoning in America. From Amazon’s warehouses to Starbucks cafes, Appalachian coal mines to the sex workers of Portland’s Stripper Strike, interest in organized labor is at a fever pitch not seen since the early 1960s. Inspirational, intersectional, and full of crucial lessons from the past, Fight Like Hell shows what is possible when the working class demands the dignity it has always deserved.
Read the Industrial Worker’s interview with FW Kim Kelly here!
“In Fight Like Hell you’ll find the true stories of people who have fought to win a better world for themselves and everyone else who has to work for a living. Need enough wages to live on? Dignified treatment on the job that recognizes you as a human being, not a machine? Sometimes feel an impulse to be a troublemaker? Fight Like Hell will give you inspiration — and a few hot tips.”—Jeremy Brecher, author of Strike!
“Fight Like Hell tells the inspiring stories of badass working class heroes who have all too often been written out of history. We need to hear these voices now more than ever, and Kim Kelly vibrantly brings their struggles and sacrifices to life.”—Tom Morello, musician and lead guitarist for Rage Against the Machine
“Kim Kelly throws wide the doors to inspire all of us to seize power for ourselves by showing how—yesterday and today—the oppressed overlooked, the outcasts and the misfits, shaped history.”—Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
“No one is more passionate about workers’ struggles than Kim Kelly, and it shows. Let her take you on a wild ride through American labor history, introducing you to some of labor’s unsung heroes, inspiring victories, and tragic defeats. This book will change how you think about the labor movement.”—Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won’t Love You Back
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