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Seeking to reclaim a history that has remained largely ignored by historians, this dramatic and stirring account examines each of the definitive American cooperative movements for social changefarmer, union, consumer, and communalistthat have been all but erased from collective memory. With an expansive sweep and breathtaking detail, this scholarly yet eminently readable chronicle follows the American worker from the colonial workshop to the modern mass-assembly line, from the family farm to the corporate hierarchy, ultimately painting a vivid panorama of those who built the United States and those who will shape its future. This second edition contains a new introduction by Ishmael Reed, a new preface by the author that discusses cooperatives in the Great Recession of 2008 and their future in the 21st century, and a new chapter on the role co-ops played in the food revolution of the 1970s.
Ishmael Reed is a novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, and National Book Award nominee. He is also a publisher and editor of numerous anthologies and magazines as well as a teacher and lecturer. He lives in San Francisco. John Curl is the author of Ancient American Poets, History of Work Cooperation in America, Memories of Drop City, and seven books of poetry. He has been a member of Heartwood Cooperative Woodshop for more than 30 years. He lives in Berkeley, California.