Opinions Throughout History: Worker’s Rights & Wages

Salem. (Opinions Throughout History). Apr. 2022. 619p. ISBN 9781637001387. $195. REF
In this 17th volume in the “Opinions Throughout History” series, independent scholar Micah Issitt traces the course of workers’ rights, labor relations, and the nature of work across the whole scope of American history. Although this is a reference work, the author does write from the perspective that wealth and income inequality has been one of the major problems in American history and argues that the way in which a nation addresses issues, such as workers’ rights and income inequality, reflects its values. The book’s 28 main chapters take a loose chronological approach to examining major issues in American economic and labor history. Each chapter starts with an introduction that provides context and background for the topic at hand (work in colonial America, the perils of coal mining, the struggles of Black workers, etc.). This is followed by a primary document or two, such as a speech, piece of legislation, or court document that relates to that period of history. Next is an analysis of the document(s) and a discussion of contemporary public opinions, including the perspectives of the main parties affected by the issue and that of society at large. The book is well-illustrated with images of leading historical figures and other contemporary photos and illustrations. Citations to source material and endnotes are gathered together in one section.
VERDICT A potentially useful reference work for high school and undergraduate collections.
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