Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 / Edition 2

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This book examines how it was possible and what it meant for ordinary factory workers to become effective unionists and national political participants by the mid-1930s. Lizabeth Cohen follows Chicago workers as they make choices about whether to attend ethnic benefit society meetings or go to the movies, whether to shop in local neighborhood stores or patronize the new A&P. Although workers may not have been political in traditional terms during the Twenties, as they made daily decisions like these, they declared their loyalty in ways that would ultimately have political significance. As the depression worsened in the 1930s, not only did workers find their pay and working hours cut or eliminated, but the survival strategies they had developed during the 1920s were undermined. Looking elsewhere for help, workers adopted new ideological perspectives and overcame longstanding divisions among themselves to mount new kinds of collective action. Chicago workers' experiences as citizens, ethnics and blacks, wage earners and consumers all converged to make them into New Deal Democrats and CIO unionists. First printed in 1990, Making a New Deal has become an established classic in American history. This second edition includes a new preface by the author.

About the Author:
Lizabeth Cohen is the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the history department of Harvard University

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Most chapters in this ambitious study of Chicago's ethnic workers between the wars could themselves be the basis for a book: workers' encounter with mass culture; their response to 1920s welfare capitalism; the Depression's effects; the turn toward Democratic politics; and the embrace of organized labor. Cohen has used a vast range of sources to show that these episodes are interrelated and to make the overall point that far from bobbing upon history's tides, workers were agents of their own fortune during a period opening with labor in disarray and ending in strength. If on some points her arguments are strained, the richness of Cohen's book makes it an essential purchase for research libraries, and a useful item in many other academic collections.-- Robert F. Nardini, N. Chichester, N.H.
From the Publisher
Review of previous edition:
"At every step the argument is developed in a sophisticated way … Making a New Deal constitutes a major achievement."
Julia Greene, Journal of American History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521887489
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/14/2008
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 526
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Lizabeth Cohen is the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the history department of Harvard University. She is also the author of A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (2003) and co-author with David M. Kennedy of The American Pageant, a college-level US history textbook.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1 Living and Working in Chicago in 1919 11
2 Ethnicity in the New Era 53
3 Encountering Mass Culture 99
4 Contested Loyalty at the Workplace 159
5 Adrift in the Great Depression 213
6 Workers Make a New Deal 251
7 Becoming a Union Rank and File 291
8 Workers' Common Ground 323
Conclusion 361
Notes 369
Index 511
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