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Books that Shaped Work in America

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Title    Author    Year    Contributors
The Grapes of Wrath

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What Others are Saying

The Grapes of Wrath

Author: John Steinbeck

Year Published: 1939

What Others are Saying:

  • Captures the impact of economics on the everyday lives of people.
  • It reflects the struggle of a rural American family caught in the throws of the Great Depression, who - like many, were faced with the loss of their livelihood due to dramatic changes in the farming industry, the Great Dust Bowl drought of the midwest, and overwhelming impoverishing economic hardship. Much like the immigrants of this country at its founding, these American families roamed the countryside from the midwest to California in search of a new place where they could make a life, and find jobs, land, and pride once again.
  • This book depicts a point in our history in which the plight of the working poor at the end of the Great Depression.
  • It vividly shows how agricultural businesses during the depression took advantage of people when there were no guidelines, standards and rules about work hours, pay, safety, and healthcare, among other issues, concerning workers. There were no workers' rights!
  • The stories and characters in this book lay out the challenges of farm workers past and present. It brings light to issues of minimum wage, minimum age, working hours, OSH, and many other labor-related components. It has opened the eyes of Americans to the need for workplace regulation and social protection and it is fully applicable to discussions today, particularly surrounding the Farm Bill and minimum ages and wages.
  • Farm labor, immigrant labor...sometimes the payoff isn't commiserate with the hard work, but people work the land for whatever bounty exists. The book also shows people doing what is necessary, including reluctantly moving, adjusting, starting from the bottom to find work.
  • It deals with devastated lives of workers without jobs/living wages and how government can lessen the devastation.

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