General Motors and the United Auto Workers lock horns in this tale of a go-for-broke wildcat strike. Wildcat is set in Vietnam-era, 1970 Ohio at a General Motors stamping plant--lots of laughs, labor history, and a not nostalgic look at what Vietnam cost us all.
Just when General Motors is facing its biggest challenge, along comes Bill Pancoast's Wildcat. This gritty connected sequence of short stories follows a team of autoworkers back in GM's oil-spattered glory days. Whether you're reading about security captain Big Bill or line worker Bobby Finnegan, these stories reveal the slimy underbelly of the car industry with a muckraker's finesse. Pancoast's knowledge of factory operations, his portrait of labor-and human-relations in America's heartland, recall Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, as well as Ida Tarbell's exposé of the Standard Oil Company.
-James Reiss, author of Riff on Six
I used to tell Bill Pancoast that he was going to get his ass kicked if he didn't shut up. I'm glad he didn't listen to me. Wildcat is the story of the auto industry no one ever believed when I told it. Fiction is fact.
--Ken Kreiger, retired autoworker, 41 years service
Most novelists haven't been anywhere near an auto plant, let alone worked in one, but Bill Pancoast has. Wildcat takes us inside a spontaneous strike at an Ohio stamping plant in the Vietnam era, showing how righteous anger, insane hijinks, and bloodshed can break out when workers decide to do something--anything--about brutal and boring working conditions.
--Christopher Phelps, Associate professor,
American Studies, University of Nottingham
Bill Pancoast's Wildcat is a funny, sad, and thoroughly convincing portrait of autoworkers--many damaged by war, broken dreams, or substance abuse--dependent on a General Motors plant in fictional Cranston, Ohio, during the Sixties and Seventies. After reading this moving novel-in-stories, I once again asked myself: why is the subject of work so often neglected by today's fiction writers? Fortunately, we have Pancoast to fill in some of the blanks.
--Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff In most of the recent books, articles, and analyses of General Motors, few armchair critics have bothered to write about the company's attitude toward the rank-and-file workers who build its cars. Fortunately, we now have Bill Pancoast, a front-line autoworker in one of GM's key factories for many years, to thank for filling that void. In this slim volume, Pancoast packs in accounts of the company's behavior before, during, and after "wildcat" strikes, the union's response, and the very human stories of life and death on the line. For those trying to understand why the auto industry is where it is today, Wildcat will provide some of the answers.
--Dave Elsila, editor, Solidarity magazine,
1976-1998 and former editor, American Teacher and Changing Education