"This is the classic history of the Industrial Workers of the World, the influential band of labor militants whose activism mobilized America's poorest and most marginalized workers in the years before World War I. Originally published in 1969, Melvyn Dubofsky's "We Shall Be All" has remained the definitive archive-based history of the IWW. While much has been written on aspects of the IWW's history in the past three decades, nothing has duplicated or surpassed this authoritative work. The present volume, an abridged version of this labor history classic, makes the compelling story of the IWW accessible to a new generation of readers. In its heyday, between 1905 and 1919, the IWW nourished a dream of a better America where poverty - material and spiritual - would be erased and where all people, regardless of nationality or color, would walk free and equal. More than half a century ago the Wobblies tried in their own ways to grapple with issues that still plague the nation in a more sophisticated and properous era. Their example has inspired radicals in America and abroad over the greater part of a century."
maggistream, November 4, 2007 (view all comments by maggistream)
I adore the subject of the I.W.W fight for freedom of speech and work, and the whole philosophy they carried through the 1920s.They were like "witches" in the eyes of Catholic church, doing their job but unfortunately involving too much care of the Big Business and the government (as economics has been always the matter beyond any other, worth shedding blood in a domestic war scene).I recommend it to all who are still unsure unsure if the history of I.W.W might influence their existence somehow.
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Dubofsky begins in the decades leading up the the formation of the IWW in 1905 to show that the "Wobbly" philosophy and practice had distinctly American roots. He finishes by documenting the government repression of the war years and the union's decile through 1924 (Foner left of at 1917).
In his detailed and involving descriptions of the many battles of the IWW the author does a fair job of highlighting the organization's strengths and weeknesses. He helps us to understand how a union with such a chaotic history has had such a mythic impact on the American labor movement.
This is not a book for beginners. If you simply want an introduction, I would recommend Labor's Untold Story by Boyer and Morais, a book which (as its name suggests) tells much of the little known history of radical American labor.
One last note on the new abridged edition: I would have to read it to be sure, but I think that any abridgement of this book would be a shame. I found little fat to cut in my reading and there are other books which can provide an introduction to the IWW. This book was valuable as a complete history (as complete as a history ever is). A simple re-release would have been favorable.
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