Noting that standard accounts of U.S. history often pay little attention to the working class, labor historian Paul Le Blanc presents a colorful, fact-filled history that concentrates on the struggles and achievements of that often neglected laboring majority. In a blend of economic, social, and political history, Le Blanc shows how important labor issues have been and continue to be in the forging of our nation's history. Within a broad analytical framework he highlights issues of class, gender, race, and ethnicity, and includes the views of key figures of U.S. labor—Cesar Chavez, Eugene V. Debs, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Samuel Gompers, Woody Guthrie, "Big Bill" Haywood, Langston Hughes, "Mother" Mary Jones, Martin Luther King Jr., George Meany, A. Philip Randolph, and Carl Sandburg, among others.
In addition to the main narrative, a bibliographical essay directs readers to classic works and cutting-edge scholarship in the field of U.S. labor history as well as to relevant fiction, poetry, and films for further exploration or study. The book's substantial glossary offers clear definitions and thought-provoking mini-essays for almost 200 terms, from the most basic to the most complex and technical.