My rating: 4 of 5 stars
not for the fainthearted.
set in the early 70s, this book tells the story of a father, his son, and unions.
there’s a lot of well-researched history here, i think–the history of unions in america, of union-busting, of the successes and failures of unions, of radical workers’ politics. it does make for compelling reading, even when the rather weak plot and thin fictional framework flag.
i’ve been a union fan (and am currently a union member) since i can remember understanding what they do. i’m still a fan, even though i am developing doubts as to who they represent. i believe that trade unions are still the best hope a working slob has.
one can’t help but be aware, as one reads this book, that unions are about to take a major fall, however. ronald reagan, that rough beast, is slouching toward bethlehem as the events of this novel unfold. and the unions themselves are rotting from within.
urk. that’s why i say it’s not for the fainthearted. the book is a tragedy, and the end will break your heart.