A History of America in Ten Strikes – Erik Loomis

I received an E-Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for a fair review. Many thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to do so.

A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis is an informative non-fiction book focusing on the importance of strikes and what they they did for the working class of America. Loomis focuses on 10 strikes ranging from the Lowell Mill Girls Strike from 1930-1840 to Justice for Janitors in 1990.

The layout for this book was not what I expected, though it was not a bad way to do it. I expected that each chapter would talk about what happened during the strike and then tie it in with other parts of American History. Instead each strike is framed with a question which is then answered in depth using other strikes and context before going into the strike named at the beginning of the chapter. Once I understood this layout it didn’t bother me.

This is definitely not a book to read all at once. There is so much information to absorb. I took breaks every few chapters and went and read a lighter book so that I could fully understand everything in the book. I loved that it had so much information, I learned tons of things that I didn’t know already. In fact, it was rare that I already knew the strike that was focused on in the chapters and it was really refreshing to be able to learn so many things. However, it is a lot and it would have been overwhelming if I read it without stopping to read other things inbetween.

While this is an informative book, Loomis’ opinions come through a lot throughout this book. I didn’t expect the rhetoric that is used, I was looking more for an explanation on the strikes, not so much being told how important it is for workers to fight for their rights. While I agree with this ideal it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.

A History of America in Ten Strikes is an informative book and not one for someone who is just looking for a general overview. It held my attention for the most part through the usage of real life things that were happening at the time period, such as 12+ hour work days at dangerous jobs for low wages. This book holds real day importance and should be read by anyone who is trying to understand how we got to where we are in our workforce.

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