Monday, May 02, 2011

Five best books on labor

Arch Puddington, the director of research at Freedom House, is the author of Lane Kirkland: Champion of American Labor.

For the Wall Street Journal he named a five best list of books about labor, including:
The Princess Casamassima
by Henry James (1886)

In his only overtly political novel, Henry James addressed themes that would resonate down the 20th century: Downtrodden workers relatively satisfied with prevailing social arrangements are treated as human lab rats by an assortment of reformers and revolutionaries. The story's protagonist is Hyacinth Robinson, a bookbinder who—outraged by the plight of the poor and working class—is attracted to anarchist violence. But he has second thoughts when he is drawn into the circle of Princess Casamassima, a wealthy radical dilettante. Her friends' delusional revolutionary rhetoric puts him off (but her riches attract him). Robinson is no doubt speaking for James when he describes this group's members as "in a state of chronic spiritual inflammation."
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue