Which Side Are You On?: Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back

Which Side Are You On Trying to Be for Labor When It s Flat on Its Back When it first appeared in hardcover Which Side Are You On received widespread critical accolades and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction In this new paperback editi

  • Title: Which Side Are You On?: Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back
  • Author: Thomas Geoghegan
  • ISBN: 9781565848863
  • Page: 141
  • Format: Paperback
  • When it first appeared in hardcover, Which Side Are You On received widespread critical accolades, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction In this new paperback edition, Thomas Geoghegan has updated his eloquent plea for the relevance of organized labor in America with an afterword covering the labor movement through the 1990s A funny,When it first appeared in hardcover, Which Side Are You On received widespread critical accolades, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction In this new paperback edition, Thomas Geoghegan has updated his eloquent plea for the relevance of organized labor in America with an afterword covering the labor movement through the 1990s A funny, sharp, unsentimental career memoir, Which Side Are You On pairs a compelling history of the rise and near fall of labor in the United States with an idealist s disgruntled exercise in self evaluation Writing with the honesty of an embattled veteran still hoping for the best, Geoghegan offers an entertaining, accessible, and literary introduction to the labor movement, as well as an indispensable touchstone for anyone whose hopes have run up against the unaccommodating facts on the ground Wry and inspiring, Which Side Are You On is the ideal book for anyone who has ever woken up and realized, You must change your life.

    • Which Side Are You On?: Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back by Thomas Geoghegan
      141 Thomas Geoghegan
    • thumbnail Title: Which Side Are You On?: Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back by Thomas Geoghegan
      Posted by:Thomas Geoghegan
      Published :2019-05-10T03:32:22+00:00

    About "Thomas Geoghegan"

    1. Thomas Geoghegan

      Thomas Geoghegan received national attention when he ran as a progressive candidate for Rahm Emanuels congressional seat in 2009 and was endorsed by Barbara Ehrenreich, James Fallows, Thomas Frank, James K Galbraith, Hendrik Hertzberg, Alex Kotlowitz, Sara Paretsky, Rick Perlstein, Katha Pollitt, David Sirota, Garry Wills, and Naomi Wolf, among others He is a practicing attorney and the author of several books, including Which Side Are You On , which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and received a special citation from the PEN Martha Albrand Award judges, In Americas Court, and See You in Court Geoghegan has written for The Nation, the New York Times, and Harpers He lives in Chicago.

    773 thoughts on “Which Side Are You On?: Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back”

    1. Not that I've read a lot of books about labor law, but this is the most well-written book about the experience of practicing labor law I've ever read, a sort of ground-level counterpart to the labor-market sections of Krugman's book. I once read an review for another one of Geoghegan's books that claimed that all of his books were really about citizenship in one form or another, and I agree with that. This one focuses on the damage that conservative policies did to the traditional American unde [...]


    2. i wish it was more recent, would have liked to hear his thoughts on EFCA + the latest dance between big labor and the Democrats. p. 42- "A fine labor historian, Irving Bernstein, wrote about this period in his book The Lean Years, and there is an uncanny similarity between labor in the 1920s and labor in the 1980s. Whole passages of the book, which he wrote in the 1950s, by the way, could be lifted verbatim to describe American labor today.For example:Union members vote for Hoover then, and Reag [...]


    3. A great memoir from a career labor lawyer. I can't imagine about CEO's and union busters being anywhere near as compelling, heartbreaking and, at times, uplifting but if someone wants to recommend one I'm all ears.


    4. Geoghegan is bougie and liberal but he's very transparent about it. The book is a pretty good introduction to American labor politics.


    5. I'm kind of ambivalent about this book. We're reading it for a class, and I really vacillate from one chapter to the next on whether I find this book helpful or not. Geoghegan is definitely aware of his class privilege, so when starting out, I assumed he was equally aware of his race and gender privilege. He pokes fun at himself regarding the class privilege, and obviously struggles with his apparently conflicting desires to live comfortably while representing those who cannot afford the same co [...]


    6. This book elicited intensely ambivalent emotions in me and I think overall, I came away more irritated than pleased. Of course, I am biased as a labor organizer with my own many critiques of the movement and it seems clear that while we tend to lump together all unions into one storyline, everyone has a different union experience that tints their viewing lens. In terms of his writing style, Geoghegan mostly succeeds in removing shop-talk and jargon from his story and fits his personal narrative [...]


    7. I liked this book because it flowed like a novel and has some nice deadpan comedy (which helps if you like that style of humor). You wouldn't need to be involved in the labor movement to enjoy or understand this book. The text is also ridden with references to Christianity, particularly biblical. If you're the least bit familiar with the Bible and paying attention, you'll pick up on the subtle references and inuendos, which are hilarious because Geoghegan uses them to compare workers and events [...]


    8. If one is already depressed about the status of labor in America,he probably shouldn't read this book. Total union membership,except for government employees and the Service Employees'InternationalUnion(S.E.I.U.)has reached its nadir in America. There are many reasons for this: outsourcing,rise of information technology,threats to close businesses in the face of union organization,weak and corrupt union leadership,non-democratic unionelections,restrictive,anti-union laws,allowing strikebreakers( [...]


    9. I thought this book was a little strange. A lot of it is really interesting and enlightening, but he's doing this weird thing of saying he feels like an outsider in the labor movement because he's an intellectual yuppie from Harvard (his words), and then complaining that the labor movement doesn't live up to his own expectations of what it should be trying to do in the country/world. I know he's calling himself a yuppie in an intentionally self-deprecating way, but it's kind of true. I mean, dud [...]


    10. I first read this book in college, and in many ways it was a foreign then as it is now. He writes about a labor movement that I don't know - the steelworkers, the mine workers, the "bad" teamsters. There are pieces of it though that are spot-on: the endless and meaningless arbitration grind that unions get caught in, for example. And, is depressing as hell that we are still fighting for the one policy change that he advocates as a fix for working people, the right to join a union by signing a ca [...]


    11. Outstanding modern history of the labor movement, it's challenges, internal struggles, and the structural restrictions place on it. Geoghegan writes with a nice balance of honesty, sarcasm, and wit. Keeps the history fresh, when it could easily feel stale. Good for a child of the Reagan generation who doesn't have a context for when and why the actual decline of labor began. The battery of legal, political, and marketing forcers that have hamstrung labor and restricted democracy in government an [...]


    12. You don't have to be a labor activist to love this book. Really stylistic writing. At times surreal, other times, stream of conscious, while in other instances, lucidly analytical. Intensely sharp, witty, biting, and uncompromisingly critical of everyone: employers, liberals, conservatives, unionists, and most of all, himself! A rocky ride through through the attorney's career, and in the process, the life of organized labor. A flavor of his writing; the opening of the book: "'Organized labor.' [...]


    13. Wow! No offense to all the labor lawyers out there (har har), but I never expected in a million years that I would enjoy this book as much as I did. Mr. Geoghegan's dry wit had me laughing out loud on many occasions. This volume is an extremely fast read for 350+ pages - not what I expected at all!I have to say that I can sympathize with some of the other reviewers who were a little bummed out by Geoghehan's downbeat view on the future of the labor movement in the US. It must be hard not to get [...]


    14. I found this book to be a really enjoyable read. I picked it up because somebody told me it was an approachable introduction to the history of Labor in the US. I don't have much to compare it against but I think it does a pretty good job of that.But it's also just fun to read all these stories. Don't get me wrong, it's also pretty bleak in a lot of ways and there's no shortage of well let's say unbounded cynicism, but nonetheless I found it a very entertaining and informative read. I am sort of [...]


    15. This might be just a 4.5, but it's the kind of 4.5 I mark 5 instead of 4. The author, a labor lawyer in Chicago, captures perfectly some of the misgivings about the labor movement that I have cultivated in the short 2 years I've been intimately acquainted with it. At the same time, he admires all the things I admire about it, and his ultimate lament is that labor has been beaten down both by outside forces and from within. His discussions of class also resonated with me. I need to find the 2004 [...]


    16. Published in 1991, this book is about the author's work as a labor lawyer. It makes sad reading. Organized labor's demise in the US has had some very sad consequences for workers.Towards the end of the book, Thomas Geoghegan ,mentions his work in organizing nurses in Fairbury, IL who worked at St. Francis Hospital. Living so close to St. Francis (now the mega healthcare organization known as OSF), I found his remarks about the Fairbury nurses particularly interesting.


    17. I was surprised how poorly written this book was considering it was written by a lawyer. THere was just run-on thought after run-on thought and served more as the author's biography than an actual analysis of what is right or wrong with labor unions. I only could get through half of the book before putting it back on the shelf.


    18. Autobiographical stories about the corruption of large unions and the calculating dishonesty of the large corporations that deal with them. Thesis is that even though unions need to be cleaned up, they contributed substantially to the size and well-being of the middle class.


    19. Faulkner's stream of consciousness pales in comparison to this author. There are some great insights and opinions in this book, but it badly needs an editor and should be 1/3 of the size that it is in its current form.


    20. This all too glum book is written by a union labor lawyer whose dienchantment with the labor movement but not working people shows as he says the deindustrialization of America and the anemic response of labor unions. But what could they do, the deck was so utterly stacked against them.


    21. I really liked this book. I haven't mentioned it to my friend who's a labor historian because I'm afraid she'll tell me it was written by the devil and I won't be allowed to like it anymore. But I don't think it was.


    22. Sarcastic, self-deprecating, and often hilarious. But also rambling, and not particularly useful as labor history (though it may not be trying to be). The book really picks up in its last few fiery chapters, and you can hear the author's words dripping with righteous indignation. Loved it.


    23. Terrific basic labor history book for adults. If you don't really know anything about why there were unions, and how they operate, from the viewpoint of a working labor lawyer, this is the book.(less)


    24. An incredibly cynical, absolutely honest look at the condition of organized labor in present day America. Many parts read like stream of consciousness. As a lawyer, it is not surprising that the author recommends law reform as a means to reviving unions.


    25. I've checked out the 2004 version to read the 60 page afterword.The afterword was good, but not as good as the original book.



    26. I tore through this book and laughed out loud many many times. A great read for anyone interested in the labor movement, lawyers, chicago - or all three.


    27. Do you know if you can join a union? And how long it would take? And why unions are good? I didn't. Now I know more and I'm looking for the next book on 'labor' to enlighten me further.


    28. Excellent book with an interesting flow. Definitely would recommend it to anyone interested in labor history and law, or even just in class.


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