Mark Oppenlander's Reviews > Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams

Working Words by M.L. Liebler
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's review
Jan 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: anthropology-sociology, business-economics, poetry, short-stories
Read in January, 2011

This book is a compilation of short pieces on work, working people and the struggle of the labor movement. It contains poetry, song lyrics, essays and memoirs covering about 150 years of American life. While by very design, the piece is uneven, there are a number of gems in here and despite the 500+ page length, I found myself turning the pages of this one quite quickly.

My one disappointment was how little faith or philosophy was represented. The essays and memoirs of Dorothy Day from the Catholic Worker movement were a notable exception, but I was surprised how little the characters in these stories and poems discussed God. From my experience with working class people, God is still a big deal to them. Seems like that would be expressed in their art too.

Be warned, this book is a bit of a downer. The plight of the working man hasn't been pretty throughout history. These stories and poems will put you shoulder to shoulder with him, in all of his sordid glory.

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