Book Reviews -- Wobblies, Pile Butts, and Other Heroes: Laborlore Explorations by Archie Green

Article excerpt

Wobblies, Pile Butts, and Other Heroes: Laborlore Explorations. Archie Green. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1993.

Archie Green is one of laborlore's finest raconteurs. He tells what he knows, and he knows about everything connected with American labor, with ease, grace, charm and a wonderful disarming casualness which is at the same time both educational and informative.

Such is the warp and woof of this book. Green left the University of California, Berkeley, where he said he saw all buildings and people either as Franklin Roosevelt or John L. Lewis in vision and purpose, and went to work for the then useful Civilian Conservation Corps. After serving there he returned to San Francisco and started working for a carpenter's union After that he never left home, never departed from his total immersion in labor goals and activities. A lifetime in following these hot interests is now melted into this splendid book.

Green is interested in finding the personification of the American worker. He recounts the dynamics of John Henry in America and of Joe Hill. He spends a chapter in a semantic search for the origin and full usage of the word Wobbly. …