Skip to page content
Office of the Secretary
Bookmark and Share
Books that Shaped Work in America

Recommend a Book Recommend a book Follow Us DOL Facebook DOL Twitter

Title    Author    Year    Contributors


Author: Émile Zola

Year Published: 1885

Description: This classic of French literature follows Étienne Lantier, a young newcomer to a mining town in northern France, as he leads a coal miner's strike against pay cuts. The title refers to the belief in the "germination" of a better society, one without the poverty and extreme working conditions of miners in 1860s France portrayed in the novel. As a new consciousness was dawning and the seeds of the 20th century labor movement began to sprout around the globe, Zola's book was translated into English and dozens of other languages, helping to cultivate collective movements aimed at bringing attention to the working conditions of an industrial age. It has since become a touchstone for working class activists and reformers.

Recommended by:

'That evening, in the Advantage, the decision was taken to strike. Rasseneur had ceased to oppose it, and Souvarine accepted it as a first step. Étienne summed the matter up; if it was a strike the Company wanted, then a strike they could have.'


What does this book have to do with the U.S. Department of Labor?

The Department of Labor touches almost every aspect of working in America, including:

Books that Shaped Work in America             Title    Author    Year    Contributors    Printer Friendly List    Sortable List

Notable Contributors