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Leonard Bernstein
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James Naismith
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Labor's War at HomeLabor's War at Home

The CIO In World War II

Nelson Lichtenstein

Narrated by Greg Littlefield

Available from Audible

Book published by Temple University Press

Labor's War at Home examines a critical period in American politics and labor history, beginning with the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 through the wave of major industrial strikes that followed the war and accompanied the reconversion to a peacetime economy. Nelson Lichtenstein is concerned both with the internal organizations and social dynamics of the labor movement—especially the Congress of Industrial Organizations—and with the relationship between the CIO, as well as other bodies of organized labor, and the Roosevelt administration. He argues that tensions within the labor movement and within the ranks of American business profoundly affected government policy during the war and the nature of organized labor's political relations with Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. Moreover, the political arrangements worked out during the war established the foundations of social stability and labor politics that came to characterize the postwar world.

Nelson Lichtenstein is MacArthur Foundation Chair in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the editor of American Capitalism: Social Thought and Political Economy in the Twentieth Century.


“An impressive work which offers a useful perspective on the origins of the crisis the labor movement faces.”

The Nation

“(Lichtenstein's) research remains a significant contribution... for drawing attention to the critical importance of events that transpired for labor during what Eric Goldman thirty years ago labeled 'the crucial decade.'”

Reviews in American History

“Lichtenstein has compiled a splendid, well-researched book, written in an engaging and confident style. He effectively analyzes the search for labor stability during the war and, most important, what the implications were for trades unionism in the United States after 1945.”

The Economic History Review

“This book is essential reading for students of American labor.”

Contemporary Sociology

“Lichtenstein's... interpretation of the CIO's wartime experience is always provocative and frequently compelling.”

The American Historical Review

“"(Lichtenstein's) book represents an important addition not only to labor history but to political history as well.”

The Journal of Economic History

Labor's War at Home is grounded in a wide range of primary sources... Lichtenstein hopes to salvage from the war years a lesson for the militants of today.”

The Journal of American History

“More than an interpretation of the labor movement in the 1940's, it is a detailed analysis of the struggle and a reminder of what happens when a radical movement is absorbed into the state.”

Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law

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