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Other titles in the Working Class in American History series:
Good, Reliable, White Men: Railroad Brotherhoods, 1877-1917 (Working Class in American History)by Paul Michel Taillon
Synopses & Reviews
This engaging study provides an account of the independent railroad brotherhoods from the period of their formation in the 1860s and '70s to the consolidation of their power on the eve of World War I. By commanding the attention of U.S. presidents and establishing the eight-hour workday, railroad brotherhoods employed responsible trade unionism to their advantage. Paul Michel Taillon focuses on the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Order of Railway Conductors, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen to investigate the impact of these unions on early twentieth-century politics and society.
Notorious for their conservative bent and exclusiveness based on race and trade, the unions also demonstrated a capacity for change and a particular acumen for negotiating in political and public circles, all but guaranteeing brotherhood survival. In highlighting the successes and failures of these railroad unions, Taillon shows how they employed capitalist principles; how they were influenced by considerations of gender, race, and class; and how they prompted momentous debates about the proper relationships among government, private enterprise, labor, and management.
Book News Annotation:
Taillon (history, U. of Auckland, New Zealand) chronicles the history of independent railroad brotherhoods in the US from when their formation in the 1860s and 1870s to before World War I. Focusing on the "Big Four"--the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Order of Railway Conductors, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen--he describes the successes and failures of these brotherhoods in affecting change, such as with the creation of an eight-hour workday; how they used capitalist principles and influenced the economy and politics; and their fraternal culture and craft industrialism. He also discusses how they were influenced by gender, race, and class, as they admitted only highly-skilled, well-paid white workers, and how they sparked debates about the relationships among government, private enterprise, labor, and management. The book originated in his PhD dissertation. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Railroad brotherhoods' dynamic impact on American labor relations and national politics
Paul Michel Taillon is a senior lecturer in the History Department at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
About the Author
"A well-document, lucid account of railway labor organizations during a crucial period. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice
"Engaging, well written, and well researched. It is a must-read for anyone interested not only in the history of workers and unions in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America but also society, culture, and politics in Gilded Age and Progressive Era America."--The Journal of American History
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