Solidarity Interrupted

Schools of Democracy

A Political History of the American Labor Movement

Clayton Sinyai

Cornell University Press, $22.50, 282 pp.

It is the rare volume of labor history that opens with a quote from Rousseau. What has the Social Contract to do with John L. Lewis’s famous dictum that unions exist to get “more”-a formulation that, taken at face value, shows scant regard for the general welfare? But as either a scholar or trade-union activist, Clayton Sinyai sees no contradiction. “Equipping America’s workers for democracy was-and is-how American trade unionists find...

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About the Author

Leslie Woodcock Tentler, author of Catholics and Contraception: A History, is professor of history at the Catholic University of America.