The International Labor History Association (ILHA) has announced that the book City of Workers, City of Struggle: How Labor Movements Changed New York (Columbia Univ. Press and the Museum of the City of New York, 2019), edited by Joshua B. Freeman, has won the ILHA Book of the Year Award for 2019.
City of Workers, City of Struggle chronicles New York City labor history, covering the range of colonial-era workers and slaves to current labor movements and alt-labor initiatives.
Since 1988 the ILHA has periodically recognized authors with a “Book of the Year” Award for outstanding labor history contributions. Past award-winning authors include Sakehela Bahlungu, Bjorn Beckman, Mildred Beik, Joel Beinin, Carolyn Brown, Leon Fink, Dana Frank, James Green, Craig Heron, Darryl Holter, Tera Hunter, Peter Linebaugh, Zachery Lockman, Stephen Meyer, Elizabeth Perry, Marcus Rediker, and Lloyd Sachikonye.
City of Workers, City of Struggle brings together essays by leading historians of New York and a wealth of illustrations, offering descriptions of work, daily life, and political struggle. It recounts how workers have developed formal and informal groups not only to advance their own interests but also to pursue a vision of what they believed the city should be like and whom it should be for.
The book goes beyond the largely mainstream labor organizations who have dominated the history of labor movements to look at enslaved people, indentured servants, domestic workers, sex workers, day laborers, and others who have had to fight not only their masters and employers but also labor groups that often excluded them.
City of Workers, City of Struggle offers an accounting of the four-hundred-year history of efforts by New York workers to improve their lives and their communities.
Joshua B. Freeman is Distinguished Professor of History at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His books include Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World (2018); American Empire, 1945–2000: The Rise of a Global Power; the Democratic Revolution at Home (2012); and Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II (2000).
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