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Trucking Country

Author: Shane Hamilton
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400828791
Size: 41.77 MB
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Trucking Country is a social history of long-haul trucking that explores the contentious politics of free-market capitalism in post-World War II America. Shane Hamilton paints an eye-opening portrait of the rural highways of the American heartland, and in doing so explains why working-class populist voters are drawn to conservative politicians who seemingly don't represent their financial interests. Hamilton challenges the popular notion of "red state" conservatism as a devil's bargain between culturally conservative rural workers and economically conservative demagogues in the Republican Party. The roots of rural conservatism, Hamilton demonstrates, took hold long before the culture wars and free-market fanaticism of the 1990s. As Hamilton shows, truckers helped build an economic order that brought low-priced consumer goods to a greater number of Americans. They piloted the big rigs that linked America's factory farms and agribusiness food processors to suburban supermarkets across the country. Trucking Country is the gripping account of truckers whose support of post-New Deal free enterprise was so virulent that it sparked violent highway blockades in the 1970s. It's the story of "bandit" drivers who inspired country songwriters and Hollywood filmmakers to celebrate the "last American cowboy," and of ordinary blue-collar workers who helped make possible the deregulatory policies of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and set the stage for Wal-Mart to become America's most powerful corporation in today's low-price, low-wage economy. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

State Of The Union

Author: Nelson Lichtenstein
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400848148
Size: 48.37 MB
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In a fresh and timely reinterpretation, Nelson Lichtenstein examines how trade unionism has waxed and waned in the nation's political and moral imagination, among both devoted partisans and intransigent foes. From the steel foundry to the burger-grill, from Woodrow Wilson to John Sweeney, from Homestead to Pittston, Lichtenstein weaves together a compelling matrix of ideas, stories, strikes, laws, and people in a streamlined narrative of work and labor in the twentieth century. The "labor question" became a burning issue during the Progressive Era because its solution seemed essential to the survival of American democracy itself. Beginning there, Lichtenstein takes us all the way to the organizing fever of contemporary Los Angeles, where the labor movement stands at the center of the effort to transform millions of new immigrants into alert citizen unionists. He offers an expansive survey of labor's upsurge during the 1930s, when the New Deal put a white, male version of industrial democracy at the heart of U.S. political culture. He debunks the myth of a postwar "management-labor accord" by showing that there was (at most) a limited, unstable truce. Lichtenstein argues that the ideas that had once sustained solidarity and citizenship in the world of work underwent a radical transformation when the rights-centered social movements of the 1960s and 1970s captured the nation's moral imagination. The labor movement was therefore tragically unprepared for the years of Reagan and Clinton: although technological change and a new era of global economics battered the unions, their real failure was one of ideas and political will. Throughout, Lichtenstein argues that labor's most important function, in theory if not always in practice, has been the vitalization of a democratic ethos, at work and in the larger society. To the extent that the unions fuse their purpose with that impulse, they can once again become central to the fate of the republic. State of the Union is an incisive history that tells the story of one of America's defining aspirations. This edition includes a new preface in which Lichtenstein engages with many of those who have offered commentary on State of the Union and evaluates the historical literature that has emerged in the decade since the book's initial publication. He also brings his narrative into the current moment with a final chapter, "Obama's America: Liberalism without Unions."

Sweatshops On Wheels

Author: Michael H. Belzer
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780195128864
Size: 64.23 MB
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Written by a former long-haul trucker who now teaches industrial relations, this book raises crucial questions about the legacy of trucking deregulation in America and casts provocative new light on the issue of government deregulation in general.

The Routledge History Of American Foodways

Author: Jennifer Jensen Wallach
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317975227
Size: 33.89 MB
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The Routledge History of American Foodways provides an important overview of the main themes surrounding the history of food in the Americas from the pre-colonial era to the present day. By broadly incorporating the latest food studies research, the book explores the major advances that have taken place in the past few decades in this crucial field. The volume is composed of four parts. The first part explores the significant developments in US food history in one of five time periods to situate the topical and thematic chapters to follow. The second part examines the key ingredients in the American diet throughout time, allowing authors to analyze many of these foods as items that originated in or dramatically impacted the Americas as a whole, and not just the United States. The third part focuses on how these ingredients have been transformed into foods identified with the American diet, and on how Americans have produced and presented these foods over the last four centuries. The final section explores how food practices are a means of embodying ideas about identity, showing how food choices, preferences, and stereotypes have been used to create and maintain ideas of difference. Including essays on all the key topics and issues, The Routledge History of American Foodways comprises work from a leading group of scholars and presents a comprehensive survey of the current state of the field. It will be essential reading for all those interested in the history of food in American culture.

Wal Mart Wars

Author: Rebekah Peeples Massengill
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814763332
Size: 59.32 MB
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Wal-Mart is America’s largest retailer. The national chain of stores is a powerful stand-in of both the promise and perils of free market capitalism. Yet it is also often the target of public outcry for its labor practices, to say nothing of class-action lawsuits, and a central symbol in America’s increasingly polarized political discourse over consumption, capitalism and government regulations. In many ways the battle over Wal-Mart is the battle between “Main Street” and “Wall Street” as the fate of workers under globalization and the ability of the private market to effectively distribute precious goods like health care take center stage. In Wal-Mart Wars, Rebekah Massengill shows that the economic debates are not about dollars and cents, but instead represent a conflict over the deployment of deeper symbolic ideas about freedom, community, family, and citizenship. Wal-Mart Wars argues that the family is not just a culture wars issue to be debated with regard to same-sex marriage or the limits of abortion rights; rather, the family is also an idea that shapes the ways in which both conservative and progressive activists talk about economic issues, and in the process, construct different moral frameworks for evaluating capitalism and its most troubling inequalities. With particular attention to political activism and the role of big business to the overall economy, Massengill shows that the fight over the practices of this multi-billion dollar corporation can provide us with important insight into the dreams and realities of American capitalism. Rebekah Peeples Massengill is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University.

The United States Of Wal Mart

Author: John Dicker
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101143444
Size: 66.49 MB
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An irreverent, hard-hitting examination of the world's largest-and most reviled-corporation, which reveals that while Wal-Mart's dominance may be providing consumers with cheap goods and plentiful jobs, it may also be breeding a culture of discontent. It employs one of every 115 American workers. If it were a nation-state, it would be one of the world's top twenty economies. With yearly sales of nearly $260 billion and an average way of $8 an hour, Wal-Mart represents an unprecedented-and perhaps unstoppable-force in capitalism. And there have been few corporations that have evoked the same levels of reverence and ire. The United States of Wal-Mart is a hard-hitting examination of how Sam Walton's empire has infiltrated not just the geography of America but also its consciousness. Peeling away layers of propaganda and politics, investigative journalist John Dicker reveals an American (and, increasingly, a global) story that has no clear-cut villains or heroes-one that could be the confused, complicated story of America itself. Pitched battles between economic progress and quality of life, between the preservation of regional identity and national homogeneity, and between low prices and the dignity of the American worker are beginning to coalesce into an all-out war to define our modern era. And, Dicker argues, Wal-Mart is winning. Revealing that the company's business practices have been shaping American culture, including the nation's social, political, and industrial policy, The United States of Wal-Mart provides fresh insight into a controversy that isn't going away.

Trams Or Tailfins

Author: Jan L. Logemann
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226491498
Size: 51.43 MB
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In the years that followed World War II, both the United States and the newly formed West German republic had an opportunity to remake their economies. Since then, much has been made of a supposed “Americanization” of European consumer societies—in Germany and elsewhere. Arguing against these foggy notions, Jan L. Logemann takes a comparative look at the development of postwar mass consumption in West Germany and the United States and the emergence of discrete consumer modernities. In Trams or Tailfins?, Logemann explains how the decisions made at this crucial time helped to define both of these economic superpowers in the second half of the twentieth century. While Americans splurged on private cars and bought goods on credit in suburban shopping malls, Germans rebuilt public transit and developed pedestrian shopping streets in their city centers—choices that continue to shape the quality and character of life decades later. Outlining the abundant differences in the structures of consumer society, consumer habits, and the role of public consumption in these countries, Logemann reveals the many subtle ways that the spheres of government, society, and physical space define how we live.

The Kitchen Debate And Cold War Consumer Politics

Author: Sarah T. Phillips
Publisher: Macmillan Higher Education
ISBN: 1319100201
Size: 61.12 MB
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This innovative treatment of the Kitchen Debate reveals the event not only as a symbol of U.S. -Soviet military and diplomatic rivalry but as a battle over living standards that profoundly shaped the economic, social, and cultural contours of the Cold War era. The introduction situates the Debate in a survey of the Cold War, and an unprecedented collection of primary-source selections—including Soviet accounts never before translated for an English-speaking audience—connects the Debate to consumer society, gender ideologies, and geopolitics. Document headnotes, a chronology, questions to consider, and a bibliography enhance students’ understanding of this defining moment of the Cold War.

Pure And Modern Milk

Author: Kendra Smith-Howard
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199899126
Size: 27.83 MB
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A close look at milk and its history as a pure and modern consumer product in American culture.

The Retail Revolution

Author: Nelson Lichtenstein
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 9781429989718
Size: 53.56 MB
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The definitive account of how a small Ozarks company upended the world of business and what that change means Wal-Mart, the world's largest company, roared out of the rural South to change the way business is done. Deploying computer-age technology, Reagan-era politics, and Protestant evangelism, Sam Walton's firm became a byword for cheap goods and low-paid workers, famed for the ruthless efficiency of its global network of stores and factories. But the revolution has gone further: Sam's protégés have created a new economic order which puts thousands of manufacturers, indeed whole regions, in thrall to a retail royalty. Like the Pennsylvania Railroad and General Motors in their heyday, Wal-Mart sets the commercial model for a huge swath of the global economy. In this lively, probing investigation, historian Nelson Lichtenstein deepens and expands our knowledge of the merchandising giant. He shows that Wal-Mart's rise was closely linked to the cultural and religious values of Bible Belt America as well as to the imperial politics, deregulatory economics, and laissez-faire globalization of Ronald Reagan and his heirs. He explains how the company's success has transformed American politics, and he anticipates a day of reckoning, when challenges to the Wal-Mart way, at home and abroad, are likely to change the far-flung empire. Insightful, original, and steeped in the culture of retail life, The Retail Revolution draws on first hand reporting from coastal China to rural Arkansas to give a fresh and necessary understanding of the phenomenon that has transformed international commerce.