Labor: Demon, Sovereign and Savior

When we control the production of coal, we hold the vitals of our society right in our hands. I can squeeze, twist, and pull until we get the inevitable victory.

—John Llewellyn Lewis

Through four stormy decades, he was absolute sovereign of the men who worked the mines. To them he was a savior. His demagogic, often ruthless tactics alienated other Americans from Presidents on down. He gloried in playing the heavy in the drama of labor's awakening. When his sonorous voice boomed "Strike!", the nation's cartoonists went to work etching his famous...

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