An Australian immigrant, Bridges worked the Pacific Coast docks. His militant unionism placed him at the center of the 1934 West Coast Waterfront Strike and spurred him to expand his organizing activities to warehouse laborers and Hawaiian sugar and pineapple workers. Cherny examines the overall effectiveness of Bridges as a union leader and the decisions and traits that made him effective. Cherny also details the price paid by Bridges as the US government repeatedly prosecuted him for his left-wing politics.
Drawing on personal interviews with Bridges and years of exhaustive research, Harry Bridges places an extraordinary individual and the ILWU within the epic history of twentieth-century labor radicalism.