Out of the Jungle: Jimmy Hoffa and the Remaking of the American Working Class
In Out of the Jungle, historian Thaddeus Russell gives us an account of Jimmy Hoffa's life and times, much of it previously untold. Russell argues that Hoffa was compelled by a variety of social forces to place the economic interests of his union members over broad ideological concerns. The most important of those forces was the demonstrated desire of ordinary Teamsters to improve their material lives. "What do you hire us for," he famously asked a meeting of truck drivers, "if not to sell your labor at the highest buck we can get?" He responded to the rank-and-file members' demands as did none of his contemporaries in the labor movement, seeking financial gain with the mercilessness that made him renowned and feared.
Russell shows how Hoffa's ruthless attitudes evolved over his career. Beginning in the small Indiana coal-mining towns where he was born and raised, continuing into Depression-era and wartime Detroit, and then across the country after the war when Hoffa gained national notoriety, Russell places his life and career in historical perspective. The author presents new interpretations of how the Depression, the New Deal, World War II, and Robert F. Kennedy's crusade against organized crime affected not only Hoffa and the Teamsters but also the American labor movement as a whole.
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Out of the jungle: Jimmy Hoffa and the remaking of the American working classUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Russell (history, Barnard Coll.) gives us the first scholarly work presenting Hoffa's life within the context of the American labor movement. The work's major theme is reflected in its title. During ... Read full review
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