Miquixote's Reviews > Dynamite: The Story of Class Violence in America

Dynamite by Louis Adamic
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Aug 07, 14

bookshelves: history, non-fiction, 51a
Read from December 17, 2010 to August 23, 2011

Written in a journalistic flowing style that makes it very easy to read. Despite the title, the perpetrators of the class violence become quite clear with Adamic: Most of the violence in the class struggle in the US was by organized capitalist interests, acting largely through their agents in the government, employer-organized vigilantes and gun thugs.

It however does not have perfect arguments. This book's weaknesses:

-There is too much emphasis on leadership. Adamic urged industrialists and union leaders to create the new society that he dreamed of. He was too cynical about American workers' capacities. Also African Americans are pretty much ignored.

-His emphasis on violence for publicity is exagerrated. Peaceful protests can also attract attention. Violence is only one of the methods that can be used.
But his endscript says it well: an organized working class has no need of violence.


But in this edition, the weaknesses are well-exposed in the foreword by Jon Bekken, who also suggests a plethora of other books to expand the reader's knowledge and understanding.

This book taught me so much important information that I didn't know before, that can no doubt not be found in typical history books. Yes, you'll find coverage of more well-know events such as the Sacco-Vanzetti frame-up and Haymarket Affair, but also many other labor-oriented issues up to 1934. My understanding of American labor history has exploded. This is an excellent introduction to the subject, and not only a little inspiring.
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