From reviews of the first edition:
“Zweig’s investigation of politics goes beyond the electoral, focusing instead on how a broad working-class social movement (often in alliance with segments of the professional middle class) could reshape workplace and community power relations as well as national politics.” -The Nation
“Those who take (rather than give) orders at work are the working class; at 62 percent of the labor force, they are a majority distracted and diverted from its best interests for several generations. Zweig suggests the implications of this analysis for a number of key political issues, including the 'underclass,' 'family values,' globalization, and what workers get (and should get) from government. Putting class back on the table produces a thoughtful, provocative analysis of where the nation is going and what working people could do about it.” -Booklist
“In this pungent critique of class and economics in the United States -part economic theory, part political lecture, and part reportage of working-class life-Zweig offers an insightful, radical analysis that will make many readers rethink commonly held but unexamined beliefs. Zweig supports his arguments with statistics, facts and personal stories and argues with a forcefulness and conviction backed by a deeply moral sense of the dignity that is due to each person in their work and workplace.” -Publishers Weekly
“Michael Zweig provides us with a much needed discussion of class in contemporary American society. While students can benefit from the exposure to a perspective that is currently missing from the public landscape, union organizers and activists can also profit from his discussions of worker power and the rebirth of a democratic social movement among working people.” -Contemporary Sociology
In the second edition of his essential book-which incorporates vital new information and new material on immigration, race, gender, and the social crisis following 2008-Michael Zweig warns that by allowing the working class to disappear into categories of “middle class” or “consumers,” we also allow those with the dominant power, capitalists, to vanish among the rich. Economic relations then appear as comparisons of income or lifestyle rather than as what they truly are-contests of power, at work and in the larger society.
The Dow is high, unemployment is low, so what could be wrong? In this pungent critique of class and economics in the United States--part economic theory, part political lecture and part reportage of working-class life--Zweig offers an insightful, radical analysis that will make many readers rethink commonly held but unexamined beliefs. Arguing that class is less about annual income than "about the power that some people have over the lives of others, and the powerlessness most people experience as a result," Zweig reassesses class in terms of who has power in the workplace and concludes that the majority of America's employed are working class. Because the U.S.'s economic structure, job organization and social arrangements all denigrate blue-collar mannerisms, identity and culture, most people (even those with very low incomes) are encouraged to view themselves as middle class. Yet those among the true middle-class in income and workplace power are only 36% of the work force--less than half of the working class. According to Zweig, the dream of a classless (or mostly middle-class) America has simply become a myth that's supported "when we focus on the one who makes it and not the many who do not." Zweig supports his arguments with statistics, facts and personal stories and argues with a forcefulness and conviction backed up by a deeply moral sense of the dignity that is due to each person in their work and workplace.