The story of the forty-four-day Flint Sit Down Strike of 1936-37, which led to the recognition of the United Auto Workers, the union whose wages and benefits set the standard for the 20th Century American middle class.
... excellent .... more than an exciting story of worker Davids knocking down manager Goliaths ... Instead of presenting a step-by-step plan for activism, McClelland tells stories of real men and women facing dire circumstances ... Crucially, McClelland emphasizes the key role women played in the strike, which is often misremembered as a macho standoff between union men on one side and company men on the other ... One dynamic of the Flint story McClelland might have emphasized more is the dynamic of race...McClelland could have added more nuance to his excellent book if he had further explored how dynamics of race enabled or constrained the union in pursuing different goals, strategies, and tactics.
According to the book’s subtitle, Flint was 'the strike that created the middle class.' The author, a journalist and historian from Lansing, barely bothers to substantiate that claim, but his chronicle of the strike is compelling ... It’s not that labor can’t, or shouldn’t, reorganize. But they would be wise not to ignore the unhappy coda to the story that Mr. McClelland has set forth.
... [a] fascinating labor struggle. Readers interested in American labor and social history will find McClelland’s engagingly written, informative work a key to understanding the voices and roles of those who advocated for better working conditions for all working-class people.