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Aaron Copland
The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man
Howard Pollack
University of Illinois Press, 1999
One of America's most beloved and accomplished composers, Aaron Copland played a crucial role in American music's coming of age. Indeed, Copland masterworks like Appalachian Spring and A Lincoln Portrait only begin to tell the epic story of a career spent composing a wealth of music for opera, ballet, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensemble, band, radio, and film.

Howard Pollack's expansive biography examines Copland's long list of accomplishments while also telling the story of the composer's musical development, political sympathies, personal life, relationships as an openly gay man, and tireless encouragement of younger composers. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award, Copland played a vital role in the Yaddo Festival and as a beloved teacher at Tanglewood, Harvard, and the New School for Social Research. He turned to conducting later in life and via tours promoted American classical music overseas while taking it to appreciative audiences across the United States.

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Advertising Revolutionary
The Life and Work of Tom Burrell
Jason P. Chambers
University of Illinois Press, 2024
The ad exec who revolutionized the image of Black Americans in advertising

Over a forty-year career, Chicagoan Tom Burrell changed the face of advertising and revolutionized the industry’s approach to African Americans as human beings and consumers. Jason P. Chambers offers a biography of the groundbreaking creator and entrepreneur that explores Burrell’s role in building brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola within a deeply felt vision of folding positive images of Black people into mainstream American life. While detailing Burrell’s successes, Chambers tells a parallel story of what Burrell tried to do that sheds light on the motivations of advertising creators who viewed their work as being about more than just selling. Chambers also highlights how Burrell used his entrepreneurial gifts to build an agency that opened the door for Black artists, copywriters, directors, and other professionals to earn livings, build careers, and become leaders within the industry.

Compelling and multidimensional, Advertising Revolutionary combines archival research and interviews with Burrell and his colleagues to provide a long overdue portrait of an advertising industry legend and his times.

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Aldo Leopold
His Life and Work
Curt D. Meine
University of Wisconsin Press, 2010

This biography of Aldo Leopold follows him from his childhood as a precocious naturalist to his profoundly influential role in the development of conservation and modern environmentalism in the United States. This edition includes a new preface by author Curt Meine and an appreciation by acclaimed Kentucky writer and farmer Wendell Berry.

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Aldo Leopold
His Life and Work
Curt D. Meine
University of Wisconsin Press, 1991

This biography of Aldo Leopold follows him from his childhood as a precocious naturalist to his profoundly influential role in the development of conservation and modern environmentalism in the United States.

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Alien Heart
The Life and Work of Margaret Laurence
Lyall Powers
University of Manitoba Press, 2005
Today, almost two decades after her death, Margaret Laurence remains one of Canada's best-known and most beloved writers. Twice winner of the Governor General's Award for fiction, she was, as the late William French wrote, "more profoundly admired than any other Canadian novelist of her generation."

Lyall Powers is both a respected scholar of literature and a lifelong friend of Laurence's, having met her when they were students together at Winnipeg's United College in the 1940s. Alien Heart is the first full-length biography of Margaret that combines personal knowledge and insights about Laurence with a study of her work, which often paralleled the events and concerns in her own life.

Drawing on letters, personal correspondence, journals, and interviews, Lyall Powers discusses the struggles and triumphs Laurence experienced in her efforts to understand herself in the roles of writer, wife, mother, and public figure. He portrays a deeply compassionate and courageous woman, who yet felt troubled by conflicting demands. While Laurence's work is not directly autobiographical, Powers illustrates how her writing expressed many of the same dilemmas, and how the resolution her characters achieved in the novels and stories had an impact on Laurence's own life.

Powers provides an in-depth analysis of all Laurence's work, including the early African essays, fiction, and translations, and her books for children, as well as the beloved Manawaka fiction. The study clearly shows the progression and expression of Laurence as a writer of great humanity and conscience.
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All Anybody Ever Wanted of Me Was to Work
The Memoirs of Edith Bradley Rendleman
Edith Bradley Rendleman. Edited by Jane Adams
Southern Illinois University Press, 1996

From All Anybody Ever Wanted of Me Was to Work...

"Starting around 1950, people stopped raising chickens, milking cows, and raising hogs. They just buy it at the store, ready to eat. A lot buy a steer and have it processed in Dongola and put it in their freezer. What a difference! Girls have got it so easy now. They don't even know what it was like to start out. And I guess my mother's life, when she started out, was as hard again as mine, because they had to make everything by hand. I don't know if it could get any easier for these girls. But they don't know what it was like, and they never will. Everything is packaged. All you do is go to the store and buy you a package and cook it. Automatic washers and dryers. I'm glad they don't have to work like I did. Very glad."

Edith Bradley Rendleman's story of her life in southern Illinois is remarkable in many ways. Recalling the first half of the twentieth century in great detail, she vividly cites vignettes from her childhood as her family moved from farm to farm until settling in 1909 in the Mississippi bottoms of Wolf Lake. She recounts the lives and times of her family and neighbors during an era gone forever.

Remarkable for the vivid details that evoke the past, Rendleman's account is rare in another respect: memoirs of the time—usually written by people from elite or urban families—often reek of nostalgia. But Rendleman's memoir differs from the norm. Born poor in rural southern Illinois, she tells an unvarnished tale of what it was really like growing up on a tenant farm early this century.

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All Play and No Work
American Work Ideals and the Comic Plays of the Federal Theatre Project
Gagliardi, Paul
Temple University Press, 2024
Many of the Federal Theatre Project (FTP) plays Paul Gagliardi analyzes in All Play and No Work feature complex portrayals of labor and work relief at a time when access to work was difficult. Gagliardi asks, what does it mean that many plays produced by the FTP celebrated forms of labor like speculation and swindling?     

All Play and No Work directly contradicts the promoted ideals of work found in American society, culture, and within the broader New Deal itself. Gagliardi shows how comedies of the Great Depression engaged questions of labor, labor history, and labor ethics. He considers the breadth of the FTP’s production history, staging plays including Ah, Wilderness!, Help Yourself, and Mississippi Rainbow.

Gagliardi examines backstage comedies, middle-class comedies, comedies of chance, and con-artist comedies that employed diverse casts and crew and contained radical economic and labor ideas. He contextualizes these plays within the ideologically complicated New Deal, showing how programs like the Social Security Act straddled progressive ideals and conservative, capitalist norms. Addressing topics including the politicization of theatrical labor and the real dangers of unchecked economic con artists, the comic plays of the FTP reveal acts of political resistance and inequality that reflected the concerns of their audiences.
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American Prophet
The Life and Work of Carey McWilliams
Peter Richardson
University of Michigan Press, 2005
A long-overdue book on the brilliant life and career of one of our greatest public intellectuals, American Prophet will introduce Carey McWilliams to a new generation of readers.

Peter Richardson's absorbing and elegantly paced book reveals a figure thoroughly engaged with the issues of his time. Deftly interweaving correspondence, diary notes, published writings, and McWilliams's own and others' observations on a colorful and influential cast of characters from Hollywood, New York, Washington, DC, and the American West, Richardson maps the evolution of McWilliams's personal and professional life. Among those making an appearance are H. L. Mencken (McWilliams's mentor and role model), Louis Adamic, John Fante, Robert Towne, Richard Nixon, Studs Terkel, J. Edgar Hoover, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Joseph McCarthy.

American Prophet illustrates the arc of McWilliams's life and career from his early literary journalism through his legal and political activism, his stint in state government, and his two decades as editor of the Nation. This book makes the case for McWilliams's place in the Olympian realm of our most influential and prescient political writers.

Peter Richardson is the editorial director at PoliPointPress in Sausalito, California. He is the author or editor of numerous works on language, literature, and California public policy. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California Berkeley.
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America's First Network TV Censor
The Work of NBC's Stockton Helffrich
Robert Pondillo
Southern Illinois University Press, 2010
 America’s First Network TV Censor: The Work of NBC’s Stockton Helffrichis a unique examination of early television censorship, centered around the papers of Stockton Helffrich, the first manager of the censorship department at NBC. Set against the backdrop of postwar America and contextualized by myriad primary sources including original interviews and unpublished material, Helffrich’s reports illustrate how early censorship of advertising, language, and depictions of sex, violence, and race shaped the new medium.  

While other books have cited Helffrich’s reports, none have considered them as a body of work, complemented by the details of Helffrich’s life and the era in which he lived. America’s First Network TV Censor explores the ways in which Helffrich’s personal history and social class influenced his perception of his role as NBC-TV censor and his tendency to ignore certain political and cultural taboos while embracing others.

Author Robert Pondillo considers Helffrich’s life in broadcasting before and after the Second World War, and his censorial work in the context of 1950s American culture and emerging network television. Pondillo discusses the ways that cultural phenomena, including the arrival of the mid-twentieth-century religious boom, McCarthyism, the dawn of the Civil Rights era, and the social upheaval over sex, music, and youth, contributed to a general sense that the country was morally adrift and ripe for communist takeover.

Five often-censored subjects—advertising, language, and depictions of sex, violence, and race—are explored in detail, exposing the surprising complexity and nuance of early media censorship. Questions of whether too many sadistic westerns would coarsen America’s children, how to talk about homosexuality without using the word “homosexuality,” and how best to advertise toilet paper without offending people were on Helffrich’s mind; his answers to these questions helped shape the broadcast media we know today.
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America's Most Alarming Writer
Essays on the Life and Work of Charles Bowden
Edited by Bill Broyles and Bruce J. Dinges
University of Texas Press, 2019

The author of more than twenty books and a revered contributor to numerous national publications, Charles Bowden (1945–2014) used his keen storyteller’s eye to reveal both the dark underbelly and the glorious determination of humanity, particularly in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico. In America’s Most Alarming Writer, key figures in his life—including his editors, collaborators, and other writers—deliver a literary wake for the man who inspired them throughout his forty-year career.

Part revelation, part critical assessment, the fifty essays in this collection span the decades from Bowden’s rise as an investigative journalist through his years as a singular voice of unflinching honesty about natural history, climate change, globalization, drugs, and violence. As the Chicago Tribune noted, “Bowden wrote with the intensity of Joan Didion, the voracious hunger of Henry Miller, the feral intelligence and irony of Hunter Thompson, and the wit and outrage of Edward Abbey.” An evocative complement to The Charles Bowden Reader, the essays and photographs in this homage brilliantly capture the spirit of a great writer with a quintessentially American vision. Bowden is the best writer you’ve (n)ever read.

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America's Working Man
Work, Home, and Politics Among Blue Collar Property Owners
David Halle
University of Chicago Press, 1984
Over a period of six years, at factory and warehouse, at the tavern across the road, in their homes and union meetings, on fishing trips and social outings, David Halle talked and listened to workers of an automated chemical plant in New Jersey's industrial heartland. He has emerged with an unusually comprehensive and convincingly realistic picture of blue-collar life in America. Throughout the book, Halle illustrates his analysis with excerpts of workers' views on everything from strikes, class consciousness, politics, job security, and toxic chemicals to marriage, betting on horses, God, home-ownership, drinking, adultery, the Super Bowl, and life after death. Halle challenges the stereotypes of the blue-collar mentality and argues that to understand American class consciousness we must shift our focus from the "working class" to be the "working man."
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Anna Howard Shaw
The Work of Woman Suffrage
Trisha Franzen
University of Illinois Press, 2014

With this first scholarly biography of Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919), Trisha Franzen sheds new light on an important woman suffrage leader who has too often been overlooked and misunderstood.

An immigrant from a poor family, Shaw grew up in an economic reality that encouraged the adoption of non-traditional gender roles. Challenging traditional gender boundaries throughout her life, she put herself through college, worked as an ordained minister and a doctor, and built a tightly-knit family with her secretary and longtime companion Lucy E. Anthony.

Drawing on unprecedented research, Franzen shows how these circumstances and choices both impacted Shaw's role in the woman suffrage movement and set her apart from her native-born, middle- and upper-class colleagues. Franzen also rehabilitates Shaw's years as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, arguing that Shaw's much-belittled tenure actually marked a renaissance of both NAWSA and the suffrage movement as a whole.

Anna Howard Shaw: The Work of Woman Suffrage presents a clear and compelling portrait of a woman whose significance has too long been misinterpreted and misunderstood. 


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Around Quitting Time
Work and Middle-Class Fantasy in American Fiction
Robert Seguin
Duke University Press, 2001
Virtually since its inception, the United States has nurtured a dreamlike and often delirious image of itself as an essentially classless society. Given the stark levels of social inequality that have actually existed and that continue today, what sustains this at once hopelessly ideological and breathlessly utopian mirage? In Around Quitting Time Robert Seguin investigates this question, focusing on a series of modern writers who were acutely sensitive to the American web of ideology and utopic vision in order to argue that a pervasive middle-class imaginary is the key to the enigma of class in America.
Tracing connections between the reconstruction of the labor process and the aesthetic dilemmas of modernism, between the emergence of the modern state and the structure of narrative, Seguin analyzes the work of Nathanael West, Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, John Barth, and others. These fictional narratives serve to demonstrate for Seguin the pattern of social sites and cultural phenomenon that have emerged where work and leisure, production and consumption, and activity and passivity coincide. He reveals how, by creating pathways between these seemingly opposed domains, the middle-class imaginary at once captures and suspends the dynamics of social class and opens out onto a political and cultural terrain where class is both omnipresent and invisible.
Aroung Quitting Time
will interest critics and historians of modern U.S. culture, literary scholars, and those who explore the interaction between economic and cultural forms.
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Art and Postcapitalism
Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production
Dave Beech
Pluto Press, 2019
Artistic labour was exemplary for Utopian Socialist theories of 'attractive labour', and Marxist theories of 'nonalienated labour', but the rise of the anti-work movement and current theories of 'fully automated luxury communism' have seen art topple from its privileged place within the left's political imaginary as the artist has been reconceived as a prototype of the precarious 24/7 worker. Art and Postcapitalism argues that art remains essential for thinking about the intersection of labour, capitalism and postcapitalism not insofar as it merges work and pleasure but as an example of noncapitalist production. Reassessing the contemporary politics of work by revisiting debates about art, technology and in the nineteenth and twentieth century, Dave Beech challenges the aesthetics of labour in John Ruskin, William Morris and Oscar Wilde with a value theory of the supersession of capitalism that sheds light on the anti-work theory by Silvia Federici, Andre Gorz, Kathi Weeks and Maurizio Lazzarato, as well as the technological Cockayne of Srnicek and Williams and Paul Mason. Formulating a critique of contemporary postcapitalism, and developing a new understanding of art and labour within the political project of the supersession of value production, this book is essential for activists, scholars and anyone interested in the real and imagined escape routes from capitalism.
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Art and Postcapitalism
Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production
Dave Beech
Pluto Press, 2019
Artistic labour was exemplary for Utopian Socialist theories of 'attractive labour', and Marxist theories of 'nonalienated labour', but the rise of the anti-work movement and current theories of 'fully automated luxury communism' have seen art topple from its privileged place within the left's political imaginary as the artist has been reconceived as a prototype of the precarious 24/7 worker. Art and Postcapitalism argues that art remains essential for thinking about the intersection of labour, capitalism and postcapitalism not insofar as it merges work and pleasure but as an example of noncapitalist production. Reassessing the contemporary politics of work by revisiting debates about art, technology and in the nineteenth and twentieth century, Dave Beech challenges the aesthetics of labour in John Ruskin, William Morris and Oscar Wilde with a value theory of the supersession of capitalism that sheds light on the anti-work theory by Silvia Federici, Andre Gorz, Kathi Weeks and Maurizio Lazzarato, as well as the technological Cockayne of Srnicek and Williams and Paul Mason. Formulating a critique of contemporary postcapitalism, and developing a new understanding of art and labour within the political project of the supersession of value production, this book is essential for activists, scholars and anyone interested in the real and imagined escape routes from capitalism.
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Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet
Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging
Minh-ha T. Pham
Duke University Press, 2015
In the first ever book devoted to a critical investigation of the personal style blogosphere, Minh-Ha T. Pham examines the phenomenal rise of elite Asian bloggers who have made a career of posting photographs of themselves wearing clothes on the Internet. Pham understands their online activities as “taste work” practices that generate myriad forms of capital for superbloggers and the brands they feature. A multifaceted and detailed analysis, Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet addresses questions concerning the status and meaning of “Asian taste” in the early twenty-first century, the kinds of cultural and economic work Asian tastes do, and the fashion public and industry’s appetite for certain kinds of racialized eliteness. Situating blogging within the historical context of gendered and racialized fashion work while being attentive to the broader cultural, technological, and economic shifts in global consumer capitalism, Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet has profound implications for understanding the changing and enduring dynamics of race, gender, and class in shaping some of the most popular work practices and spaces of the digital fashion media economy.
 
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At the Heart of Work and Family
Engaging the Ideas of Arlie Hochschild
Edited by Anita Ilta Garey and Karen V. Hansen
Rutgers University Press, 2011
At the Heart of Work and Family presents original research on work and family by scholars who engage and build on the conceptual framework developed by well-known sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild. These concepts, such as "the second shift," "the economy of gratitude," "emotion work," "feeling rules," "gender strategies," and "the time bind," are basic to sociology and have shaped both popular discussions and academic study. The common thread in these essays covering the gender division of housework, childcare networks, families in the global economy, and children of consumers is the incorporation of emotion, feelings, and meaning into the study of working families. These examinations, like Hochschild's own work, connect micro-level interaction to larger social and economic forces and illustrate the continued relevance of linking economic relations to emotional ones for understanding contemporary work-family life.
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Augmented Exploitation
Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Work
Phoebe Moore
Pluto Press, 2021
Artificial Intelligence is a seemingly neutral technology, but it is increasingly used to manage workforces and make decisions to hire and fire employees. Its proliferation in the workplace gives the impression of a fairer, more efficient system of management. A machine can't discriminate, after all. Augmented Exploitation explores the reality of the impact of AI on workers' lives. While the consensus is that AI is a completely new way of managing a workplace, the authors show that, on the contrary, AI is used as most technologies are used under capitalism: as a smokescreen that hides the deep exploitation of workers. Going beyond platform work and the gig economy, the authors explore emerging forms of algorithmic governance and AI-augmented apps that have been developed to utilise innovative ways to collect data about workers and consumers, as well as to keep wages and worker representation under control. They also show that workers are not taking this lying down, providing case studies of new and exciting form of resistance that are springing up across the globe.
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