The Unmaking of the American Working Class


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By Reg Theriault
The New Press

Drawing on his experiences as a veteran longshoreman and fruit tramp, Reg Theriault describes the blue-collar culture and ethics that have defined America, and explains why they are worth preserving in the face of globalization and downsizing. Like Theriault’s instant classic How to Tell When You’re Tired, this book is driven by his dryly irresistible descriptions of working life–from fruit-tramping to tree topping to longshoreing–but at the same time makes a political argument about the value of the blue-collar workforce and the economic and political pressures that are leading to its disappearance.

Once a powerful constituency, blue-collar workers have been left behind by the “miracle” of late 20th century capitalism. The Unmaking of the American Working Class tells the story behind the disappearance of blue-collar work in America, presenting both a humorous, honest picture of working-class labor and a devastating indictment of the forces that threaten it. Whether Republican or Democratic, every administration since World War II has fostered the destruction of large segments of the working class. Theriault examines the foreign and domestic policies employed to this end and maintains that America is the poorer for them. Written for all workers, whatever color their collars, this is a funny, memorable, and heartbreaking book that takes a fresh look at the politics of work and its place in our society.


Additional information

Weight 12.4 oz
Dimensions 7.75 × 5.5 × 1 in


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