Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939

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Cambridge University Press, 2008 - History - 526 pages
12 Reviews
This book examines how it was possible and what it meant for ordinary factory workers to become effective unionists and national political participants by the mid-1930s. We follow Chicago workers as they make choices about whether to attend ethnic benefit society meetings or to go to the movies, whether to shop in local neighborhood stores or patronize the new A & P. Although workers may not have been political in traditional terms during the '20s, as they made daily decisions like these, they declared their loyalty in ways that would ultimately have political significance. As the depression worsened in the 1930s, not only did workers find their pay and working hours cut or eliminated, but the survival strategies they had developed during the 1920s were undermined. Looking elsewhere for help, workers adopted new ideological perspectives and overcame longstanding divisions among themselves to mount new kinds of collective action. Chicago workers' experiences as citizens, ethnics and blacks, wage earners and consumers all converged to make them into New Deal Democrats and CIO unionists. First printed in 1990, Making a New Deal has become an established classic in American History. The second edition includes a new introductory essay by Lizabeth Cohen.

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Review: Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939

User Review  - Mark Bowles - Goodreads

Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal; Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 (1990) 1. Central argument is that rank and file workers made the New Deal based on the ways the working class culture had ... Read full review

Review: Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939

User Review  - Kaufmak - Goodreads

It is hard to believe that this book is over twenty years old. I still refer to it when discussing the Great Depression and the formation of the New Deal coalition of the 1930s. I think the greatest ... Read full review


Living and Working in Chicago in 1919
Ethnicity in the New Era
Encountering Mass Culture
Contested Loyalty at the Workplace
Adrift in the Great Depression
Workers Make a New Deal
Becoming a Union Rank and File
Workers Common Ground

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About the author (2008)

Lizabeth Cohen is the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the history department of Harvard University. She is also the author of A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (2003) and co-author with David M. Kennedy of The American Pageant, a college-level U.S. history textbook.