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Running Steel, Running America: Race, Economic Policy, and the Decline of Liberalismby Judith Stein
Synopses & Reviews
The history of modern liberalism has been hotly debated in contemporary politics and the academy. Here, Judith Stein uses the steel industry—long considered fundamental to the U.S. economy—to examine liberal policies and priorities after World War II. In a provocative revision of postwar American history, she argues that it was the primacy of foreign commitments and the outdated economic policies of the state, more than the nation's racial conflicts, that transformed American liberalism from the powerful progressivism of the New Deal to the feeble policies of the 1990s.
Stein skillfully integrates a number of narratives usually treated in isolation—labor, civil rights, politics, business, and foreign policy—while underscoring the state's focus on the steel industry and its workers. By showing how those who intervened in the industry treated such economic issues as free trade and the globalization of steel production in isolation from the social issues of the day—most notably civil rights and the implementation of affirmative action—Stein advances a larger argument about postwar liberalism. Liberal attempts to address social inequalities without reference to the fundamental and changing workings of the economy, she says, have led to the foundering of the New Deal state.
Few serious historians of the postwar United States can afford not to read [this book].
Law and History Review An original, well-argued, and thought-provoking account of the American steel industry in the post-World War II world.
Labor History This is a marvelous and important book, an immaculately researched, powerfully written analysis.
Business History [A] passionate book.
Reviews in American History [A] triumph of heroic research and clear thinking, and essential reading for anyone who cares about this country's festering race problems.
David Brody, author of In Labor's Cause: Main Themes on the History of the American Worker
Using the steel industry to examine liberal policies and priorities after World War II, Stein shows that economic policy—not racial conflict—led to the feeble liberalism of the 1990s.
Table of Contents
1. The Politics Of Steel Fundamentalism: The Long 1950s
2. Birmingham Before and After King: Racial Change in Steel
3. The Strange Career of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Segregation of Racial and Economic Policies
4. Title VII in the Mills, Agencies, and Courts: Theories and Practices
5. Tales of Lackawanna and Sparrows Point: Implementing the Kerner Commission Report
6. Litigation Is Everything: The Nixon Years
7. The Limits of Fair Employment: The Consent Decrees and the Economic Crisis of the 1970s
8. U.S. Foreign and Domestic Policy in Steel: The Creation of Conflict, 1945-1974
9. The Locomotive Loses Power: Jimmy Carter's Industrial and Trade Policies
10. An Industrial Policy for Steel? The Decline of the Democratic Party
11. Steel Is Not So Fundamental: The Reagan Reconstruction and Contemporary America
Conclusion: Steel and the History of Postwar America
1. Roger M. Blough and Benjamin F. Fairless
2. Industrial Birmingham
3. Howard Strevel
4. Temper mill at the TCI tin mill
5. Bruce Thrasher
6. David J. McDonald, David Feller, and Frank "Nordy" Hoffman
7. Bayard Rustin and I. W. Abel
8. E. B. Rich
9. Virgil L. Pearson and Fred Shepherd
10. "Soaked" ingot leaving pit
11. Sparrows Point, Maryland
12. Jerome Cooper
13. USWA picket line at Newport News Shipbuilding Company
14. Charging the basic oxygen furnace
15. Auto scrap for the electric furnace
16. Continuous casting of steel
17. Meyer Bernstein addresses Japanese steelworkers
18. Lloyd McBride at unfair trade rally
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