A David Montgomery Reader

Essays on Capitalism and Worker Resistance
Author: David Montgomery
Edited by Shelton Stromquist and James R. Barrett
The pathbreaking work of a pioneering labor historian
Cloth – $125
Paper – $35
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 07/09/2024
Cloth: 07/09/2024
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About the Book

A foundational figure in modern labor history, David Montgomery both redefined and reoriented the field. This collection of Montgomery’s most important published and unpublished articles and essays draws from the historian’s entire five-decade career.

Taken together, the writings trace the development of Montgomery’s distinct voice and approach while providing a crucial window into an era that changed the ways scholars and the public understood working people’s place in American history. Three overarching themes and methods emerge from these essays: that class provided a rich reservoir of ideas and strategies for workers to build movements aimed at claiming their democratic rights; that capital endured with the power to manage the contours of economic life and the capacities of the state but that workers repeatedly and creatively mounted challenges to the terms of life and work dictated by capital; and that Montgomery’s method grounded his gritty empiricism and the conceptual richness of his analysis in the intimate social relations of production and of community, neighborhood, and family life.

About the Author

David Montgomery (1927–2011) was the Farnam Professor of History at Yale University. His books include The Fall of the House of Labor: The Workplace, the State, and American Labor Activism, 1865–1925. Shelton Stromquist is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Iowa and a past president of the Labor and Working-Class History Association. He is the author of Claiming the City: A Global History of Workers’ Fight for Municipal Socialism. James R. Barrett is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Scholar in Residence at The Newberry Library. He is the author of History from the Bottom Up and the Inside Out: Ethnicity, Race, and Identity in Working-Class History.

Also by this author

Work and Community in the Jungle coverWilliam Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism coverThe Spirit of Labor cover



“In this invaluable sample of nearly forty years of working-class social history, A David Montgomery Readerreminds us of the special gifts--the confidence of purpose, analytical range, and sheer breadth of knowledge--regularly exhibited by this master craftsman at work.”--Leon Fink, Undoing the Liberal World Order: Progressive Ideals and Political Realities Since World War II