Halpern traces the successes and failures of the left/progressive movement in the US during the 20th century....This analysis provides useful insight into the political direction the nation appears to be headed early in the 21st century. Recommended. Academic collections, upper-division undergraduate through faculty.
Martin Halpern's ^IUnions, Radicals, and Democratic Presidents^R is persuasively written; his overriding theme advocates a peaceful caring society with civil rights and equal opportunities for people regardless of race, gender or sexuality. The book covers strengths and weaknesses in presidential candidate campaigns, the labor movement, the formation of various unions, various improvements to society such as the Equal Pay Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Women's Liberation Movement....The book is well researched using newspapers, books, statistical abstracts, interviews, correspondence and conviently referenced at the end of each chapter, as well as containing a comprehensive bibliography....[a]n interesting persuasive book that will be useful to Univeristy students and researchers as an overview of unions and Democratic presidents.
^I[U]nions, Radicals, and Democratic Presidents^R is recommended for left-leaning readers looking to recall earlier successes and for those readers looking for a detailed look at particularly important developments in twentieth-century labor history.
[T]his study is best suited to reading lists for graduate courses in twentieth-century U.S. labor and radical history. Instructors in relevant courses at both levels will be able to mine the book for useful lecture material beyond the familiar, such as the context and causes of Kennedy's executive order, as well as for what the book itself reveals about left-wing values (including the author's) and historical scholarship in the service of activist progressive ends. Some who teach specifically about the history and dynamics of social movements might organize all or part of a course around Halpern's conceptualization of the necessary conditions for substantial social change and assign students to test it for themselves.
For students of postwar labor and politics, this book will be a gem: Halpern's judgments are sound, and he is in full command of the facts.
[U]seful to historians of that subject, both for what it has to say about specific episodes in modern American labor history and, more generally, for what it reveals about how self-described leftists view American politics since the New Deal.
...A judicious and prodigiously researched account of the efforts of the labor movement and radical organizations to ally with Democratic presidents in the struggle for economic and social justice....A genuine contribution to the history of the contemporary left in the United States as well as the current political possibilities.