Beasts of the Field: A Narrative History of California Farmworkers, 1769-1913

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Stanford University Press, 2004 - History - 904 pages
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Written by one of America's preeminent labor historians, this book is the definitive account of one of the most spectacular, captivating, complex and strangely neglected stories in Western history--the emergence of migratory farmworkers and the development of California agriculture.

Street has systematically worked his way through a mountain of archival materials--more than 500 manuscript collections, scattered in 22 states, including Spain and Mexico--to follow the farmworker story from its beginnings on Spanish missions into the second decade of the twentieth century. The result is a comprehensive tour de force. Scene by scene, the epic narrative clarifies and breathes new life into a controversial and instructive saga long surrounded by myth, conjecture, and scholarly neglect.

With its panoramic view spanning 144 years and moving from the US-Mexico border to Oregon, Beasts of the Field reveals diverse patterns of life and labor in the fields that varied among different crops, regions, time periods, and racial and ethic groups.

Enormous in scope, packed with surprising twists and turns, and devastating in impact, this compelling, revelatory work of American social history will inform generations to come of the history of California and the nation.

 

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Contents

Chapter
18
Chapter Three
35
BOOK TWO THE MEANING OF FREE LABOR
84
Chapter
112
Chapter Seven
132
BOOK THREE GOLDEN HARVEST
156
Chapter Nine
175
Chapter
202
Chapter Fifteen
331
Chapter Sixteen
368
BOOK FIVE JAPANESE FARM WORKERS
407
Chapter Eighteen
440
Chapter Nineteen
470
Chapter Twenty
497
BOOK SIX BINDLE
527
Chapter TwentyTwo
548

BOOK FOUR IMMIGRANTS FROM THE EAST
232
Chapter Twelve
255
Chapter Thirteen
283
Chapter TwentyThree
572
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629
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Richard Steven Street is an independent scholar and writer. He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and has also been a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. He earned his doctorate in American labor history at the University of Wisconsin, and has been an award-winning photographer and journalist specializing in California agriculture and agricultural labor. He is the author of Organizing for Our Lives: New Voices from Rural Communities (1992). He is currently finishing a multivolume history of California farmworkers.

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