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This is one of those books that kept me up late at night because I couldn't put it down, but which I also wanted to throw across the room every fifteen minutes. It's an absolutely masterfully written narrative of how how working people in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, peoples who were not originally considered "white" by Anglo standards, gradually appropriated white identity. His work is a compilation of many other researchers' innovations--especially those of James Barrett, Thomas Guglielmo, George Lipsitz and countless more. However, it's an important book that stakes where Roediger now stands in the field that he had a huge part in inventing, about fifteen years ago. There were at least two reasons why I was absolutely frustrated by it at times: (1) The book is largely about Anglo-Americans' perceptions of white ethnics (Jews, Italians, Southern/Eastern Europeans). It's not really about these ethnics' perceptions of their own racial identity. I understand that this is not his main interest, but this really frustrates a reader who brings to the book a lot of personal and "scholarly" interest in "worker consciousness." Italians were people of color because Anglos said they were a hundred years ago. They become white because Anglos let them into white housing projects during the Depression. They are white today because Time magazine says they are. Don't ask Italian Americans, Jewish Americans and others what they think about their own racial identities. Roediger isn't interested in that--it only confuses his argument. (2)His understanding of class is incredibly masculine. It functions at the workplace and on the streets, and not in the homes. He has no interest in intermarriage across class and racial lines. He has no interest in rape, prostitution, and social welfare policies aimed at moms--all important spaces for the creation of class in a female sense, and all important to reflect upon in order to properly place his masculine history of "hunkies" who became homeowners. I am continually impressed by David Roediger's ability to synthesize scholarship. His interests in what to synthesize, however, are quite "American Studies of the 1970s" (if that existed). It's deeply masculine, it's all about popular rhetoric, even if it is incredibly well researched. 

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