What We Are Reading Today: Beaten Down, Worked Up Steven Greenhouse

Updated 07 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Beaten Down, Worked Up Steven Greenhouse

Beaten Down, Worked Up — from longtime New York Times labor correspondent Steven Greenhouse — is an in-depth look at working men and women in America, the challenges they face, and how they can be re-empowered

Greenhouse writes in depth of the history and current state of American labor and specifically highlights labor unions. 

Greenhouse “probably knows more about what is happening in the American workplace than anybody else in the country, having covered labor as a journalist for two decades,” said Zephyr Teachout in a review for The New York Times. 

Teachout said Greenhouse “achieves a near-impossible task, producing a page-turning book that spans a century of worker strikes, without overcondensing or oversimplifying, and with plausible suggestions for the future.”

The review said Greenhouse “may be a great advocate for unions, but he has no patience for union insiders who have grown used to internal power, who ask for too little and focus too much attention on strategies designed to minimize damage.”


What We Are Reading Today: The Fire Is upon Us by Nicholas Buccola

Updated 24 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Fire Is upon Us by Nicholas Buccola

On Feb. 18, 1965, an overflowing crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to witness a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America’s most influential conservative intellectual. 

The topic was “the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro,” and no one who has seen the debate can soon forget it. 

Nicholas Buccola’s The Fire Is upon Us is the first book to tell the full story of the event, the radically different paths that led Baldwin and Buckley to it, the controversies that followed, and how the debate and the decades-long clash between the men continues to illuminate America’s racial divide today, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. Born in New York City only 15 months apart, the Harlem-raised Baldwin and the privileged Buckley could not have been more different, but they both rose to the height of American intellectual life during the civil rights movement. 

By the time they met in Cambridge, Buckley was determined to sound the alarm about a man he considered an “eloquent menace.”