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Ernest Lund

A Five Foot Shelf for Workers

(July 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 28, 10 July 1944, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

(This is the list referred to in last week’s column, Straight Talk, by Ernest Lund)

I. The American Labor Movement

Walker – American City. The, story of the class struggle in Minneapolis, particularly the great drivers’ strikes in 1934.

Adamic – Dynamite. A history of violence in American labor struggles.

O’Neal – Workers in American History. A study of the role of the working people in American, history from the earliest colonial times.

Shapiro and Harris – Black Worker. The history of the Negro worker in the American labor movement.

Huberman – Labor Spy Racket. Revelations of how employers use spies in the labor movement. Based on La Follete (Senate) Committee investigations.

Coleman – Debs: Man Unafraid. A biography of the great leader of the railroad workers who became America’s foremost Socialistist spokesman.

Haywood – Bill Haywood’s Book. Autobiography of the rugged Western miner who for two decades was part of every great strike, struggle as the IWW’s leading organizer.

Walsh – CIO. An excellent account of the organization of the great industrial organization movement.

Tippett – Horse Shoe Bottoms. A novel about a miner’s family, written by a miner’s son.

Levin – Citizens. A novel dealing with the massacre of the “Little Steel” strikers in Chicago, Memorial Day, 1937.

II. The Truth About Capitalism

Lundberg – America’s Sixty Families. The outstanding, documented, study of who owns America. Proves that sixty rich families have concentrated most of the wealth in their hands.

Rochester – Rulers of America. Contains most of the basic facts given by Lundberg but is written from a more class-conscious viewpoint.

Corey – House of Morgan. A detailed study of the J.P. Morgan control of finance capital in the USA, his rivalries with Rockefeller, and his struggles with labor.

O’Connor – Mellon’s Millions. A study of the rise of Andrew Mellon in the cut-throat struggle among the early capitalists, his development of the aluminum monopoly, and his control over Pittsburgh and, finally, U.S. politics.

O’Connor – Steel: Dictator. The story how the steel industry developed to its powerful stranglehold on America by means of bloodshed, bribery and corruption. Shows how big business got that way.

Josephson – The Robber Barons. A revealing study of the methods used by the early capitalists in the period after the Civil War to found the great industrial empires of railroads, lumber, etc.

Josephson – The Politicos. A study of the political machines and the men who served the Robber Barons from their posts in the government.

Rorty – Our Master’s Voice: Advertising. A devastating exposé of the fraud of advertising by a man who thorpughly knows the field. Annihilates the argument that capitalist advertising has a useful purpose.

III. Fascism and Imperialist War

Van Paasen. – Days of Our Years. World politics as seen by an American correspondent who writes honestly of what he saw in the period between the two world wars. It contains much that was “too hot,” for his news service to print.

Grattan – Why We Fonght. A study that reveals the real reasons for America’s entry into World War I.

Stein – M Day. A review of the dictatorial measures used in World War I and a forecast of plans for forced labor and other methods in this war.

Guerin – Fascism and Big Business. A study of the connection between Big Business and the fascist movement, proving that the roots of fascism are found in the decaying structure of capitalism.

Heiden – History of National Socialism. The best history of the Hitler movement. Shows how it got its early start and rose to power. Should be read by every American anti-fascist to help identify fascism in its early “radical” stage.

Henri – Hitler Over Europe. A remarkable book written a few months after Hitler came to power. Analyzes the economic forces behind. Hitler’s foreign policy. Many writers made reputations by saying what Henri had foretold years earlier.

London – The Iron Heel. A novel written in 1908 that foresees the rise of fascism with remarkable foresight. Reading it some thirty years later Trotsky declared that Jack London foretold developments that neither he nor London guessed at.

Silone – Fontamara. The great novel about Italian fascism, what it meant to the people, and how they fought it.

IV. The Fight for Socialism

Reed – Ten Days That Shook the World. The most famous short history of the Russian Revolution. Written by John Reed with the swift pen of the on-the-scenes reporter.

Plivier – The Kaiser’s Coolies. The story of the mutiny in the German Navy during the last war.

Plivier – The Kaiser Goes, the Generals Remain. How the revolution came to Germany in 1918 and how the labor leaders sabotaged it.

Malraux – Man’s Fate. A novel based on the events in China during the Civil War of 1925-27 and the role of the revolutionary workers of Shanhai.

Hoellering – The Defenders. A novel about the heroic fight put up by the Socialist Defense Guards against the clerical fascists in Austria in 1934.

Bellamy – Looking Backward. The famous utopian novel by the early American Socialist propagandist which, aroused a nation-wide interest in socialism in the 1880’s.

Sinclair – 100%: The Story of a Patriot. The story of a stool-pigeon in the Socialist movement during the last war.

Sinclair – Jimmie Higgins. The story of a rank and file Socialist during the last war who ends up with the American troops in Russia during the Civil War.

V. Toward Understanding Russia

Beals – Proletarian Journey. The autobiography of the textile organizer and active Communist who preferred serving a twenty-year sentence on a frame-up in North Carolina rather than continue living in Soviet Russia.

Scott – Behind the Urals. One of the best accounts of life in Russia as lived by the industrial worker. Written by an American who worked as a welder on the giant steel center of Magnitogorsk.

Fischer – My Lives in Russia. A Russian woman who married the American correspondent, Louis Fischer, tells of her life in Russia as it changed from the days of Lenin to the days of Stalin.

Koestler – Darkness at Noon. A remarkable psychological study of what caused the Old Bolsheviks to confess in the Moscow Trials.


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