Impressively researched, unflinchingly honest, and at times deeply moving, Steven Greenhouse’s Beaten Down, Worked Up is a valuable resource both for those looking to learn about American labor history and for those looking to learn from it. Through case studies of pivotal workers’ rights campaigns and intimate portraits of the people who waged them, Greenhouse shows the trajectory of the labor movement from its heyday to the present day and gleans much-needed inspiration for its future. An engaging, informative, and ultimately hopeful read. Recommended By Tove H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"A page-turning book that spans a century of worker strikes....Engrossing, character-driven, panoramic." Zephyr Teachout, The New York Times Book Review
We live in an era of soaring corporate profits and anemic wage gains, one in which low-paid jobs and blighted blue-collar communities have become a common feature of our nation's landscape. Behind these trends lies a little-discussed problem: the decades-long decline in worker power.
Award-winning journalist and author, Steven Greenhouse guides us through the key episodes and trends in history that are essential to understanding some of our nation's most pressing problems, including increased income inequality, declining social mobility, and the concentration of political power in the hands of the wealthy few. He exposes the modern labor landscape with the stories of dozens of American workers, from GM employees to Uber drivers to underpaid schoolteachers. Their fight to take power back is crucial for America's future, and Greenhouse proposes concrete, feasible ways in which workers' collective power can be — and is being — rekindled and reimagined in the twenty-first century.
Beaten Down, Worked Up is a stirring and essential look at labor in America, poised as it is between the tumultuous struggles of the past and the vital, hopeful struggles ahead.
“Greenhouse outlines how a worker’s movement could be rekindled, and why it must be. Deeply inspiring and profoundly important.” Robert B. Reich, former Secretary of Labor and author of The Common Good
“Inspirational...This collection will satisfy readers who seek an introduction to labor history or ideas about how American workers can regain some power.” Publisher’s Weekly
“Superb, important and eminently readable...a searing indictment of how labor’s decline magnified inequality and injustice in the U.S. Much recommended.” Nicholas D. Kristof, op-ed columnist, The New York Times, and author of Tightrope
“Powerful...A combination of labor union history in America, investigative reporting about how rapacious employers and Republican governance have diminished labor unions, and an agenda for the revitalization of unions across the country...” Kirkus (Starred Review)
About the Author
Steven Greenhouse was a reporter for The New York Times from 1983 to 2014 and covered labor and the workplace for nineteen years there. He also served as a business and economics reporter and a diplomatic and foreign correspondent. He has been honored with the Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Club award, a New York Press Club award, a Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Reporting, and the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism for his last book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.