Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Before Bitterness ... Some Roots Of 'The American Century', The 'Greatest Generation', And Great American And American-Centric Symphony Orchestras

[Click on image for enlargement.]


"Cincinnati and San Francisco saw dramatically different developments in businessmen's class alignments, civic identities, and approach to unions. In Cincinnati, manufacturing and commercial interests joined together in a variety of civic organizations and business clubs. These organizations helped members overcome their conflicts and identify their interests with the good of the municipal community. That pervasive ideology of "business citizenship" provided much of the rationale for opposing unions. In sharp contrast, San Francisco's businessmen remained divided among themselves, opted to side with white labor against the Chinese, and advocated treating both unions and business organizations as legitimate units of economic and municipal governance.

Citizen Employers closely examines the reasons why these two bourgeoisies, located in comparable cities in the same country at the same time, differed so radically in their degree of unity and in their attitudes toward labor unions, and how their views would ultimately converge and harden against labor by the 1920s."


"Bourgeois class formation is one of the most important, yet understudied, issues in U.S. history. Citizen Employers provides a theoretically sophisticated account of the making of the Gilded Age bourgeoisie, comparing the institutions, ideology, civic discourse and workplace politics of the merchants, manufacturers, bankers, and professionals of Cincinnati and San Francisco. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the trajectory of class relations in the United States."—Sven Beckert, Harvard University, author of The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie

“Citizen Employers is easily one of the best historical studies we have of America's economic elite. Jeffrey Haydu's thoughtful reflections on business leaders are smart and insightful. His book will appeal to everyone interested in class formation, social movements, and cultural sociology and will earn the respect and admiration of historians for its narrative integrity, solid evidentiary basis, and use of primary sources.”—Howard Kimeldorf, University of Michigan

Jeffrey Haydu, University of California

Photo and text credits: (c) Cornell University Press. 2008.


(Bogdana Carpenter was my Comparative Literature Professor my freshman year, at U.C. Berkeley; and Jeffrey Haydu was my roommate my senior year, at Swarthmore.)


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