How to Tell When You're Tired: A Brief Examination of Work

Overview

"This is an absolutely wonderful book about work, our blessing and our curse. What makes it so exhilarating is that it was written, not by a cool and detached scholar, but by a working man. Eloquent and witty, it may become something of a classic."—Studs Terkel
A longshoreman on the San Francisco waterfront for over thirty years, Reg Theriault distills that experience into a wry, knowing, tough-minded book that finally gives voice to the thoughts and conditions of laboring men and women. It is an engaging and ...

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Overview

"This is an absolutely wonderful book about work, our blessing and our curse. What makes it so exhilarating is that it was written, not by a cool and detached scholar, but by a working man. Eloquent and witty, it may become something of a classic."—Studs Terkel
A longshoreman on the San Francisco waterfront for over thirty years, Reg Theriault distills that experience into a wry, knowing, tough-minded book that finally gives voice to the thoughts and conditions of laboring men and women. It is an engaging and moving defense of the working class's right to its portion of credit and dignity for building, job by dirty, demanding job, the civilization we inhabit. Here is a book George Orwell would understand—and applaud.

Theriault examines the real world of the workplace--the constant struggle for respect and autonomy, the tendency of management to treat workers as part of the production process, the habit of unions to bargain away the wrong things, the nature of bosses, the grinding tedium and danger, and the sense of accomplishment from a job well done.

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Editorial Reviews

Margaret Carlin - Rocky Mountain News
“Theriault could be destined to become the laureate of labor.”
Robert Heilbroner
“I found it extraordinary.”
In These Times
“Theriault has packed this charming little primer with all the work lore and humane radicalism of the old Wobblies. . . . An often moving meditation on the meaning of work, play and class.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW called this memoir and polemic by a retired longshoreman and "fruit tramp" a "refreshing look at the workplace by a seasoned expert." (Jan.)
Library Journal
Theriault, a former migrant fruit picker and a longshoreman for 30 years, has written this humorous treatise on hard physical labor as a way of life. He gives voice to the thoughts and conditions of the laboring classes and examines the constant struggle for respect and autonomy, the tendency of management to treat workers as merely one part of the production process, the penchant of unions to bargain away the wrong things, the awful grinding tedium and danger, and the sense of accomplishment realized from doing a piece of work right. Theriault's engaging, moving defense of the working class's right to its portion of credit for building our civilization is inspiring. All secondary career education courses should include this title on their required reading lists, making this appropriate for academic as well as public libraries.-Susan Awe, Jefferson Cty. P.L. System, Arvada, Col.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393315578
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 188
  • Sales rank: 1,026,895
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Reg Theriault's first job was nailing packing crates together during the California fruit harvest, followed by a long career as a fruit tramp in the western United States. Now retired from longshoring, he lives in San Francisco.

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