This book is destined to be a classic of labor history. The authors tell the story of an historic labor struggle, on the docks of Charleston but with ramifications around the world. They chronicle the voices of workers, cops, lawyers and politicians in a compelling narrative. The Charleston dockworkers' battles are, as the authors show us, part of a world-wide conflict, in which the only effective challenge to big business is worker power. I had a cameo role in this struggle, and I am grateful that the authors have put it in perspective. These events are a microcosm of what is going on globally. Teachers of law, history, political science and economics should assign this book to their students. Everyone who cares about economic justice should read it.
“This book tells the remarkable story of five longshoreman prosecuted for defending their livelihood and their unlikely hero, Local 1422 President Ken Riley. It's a story that demonstrates how race still matters in parts of our country, and how circumstances propel ordinary people to do extraordinary things. On the Global Waterfront: The Fight to Free the Charleston 5 deftly demonstrates that in our global economy, what happens on a South Carolina dock can have ripple effects worldwide. There are lessons contained on these pages from which we must all learn if we are to truly hope for a better future.”
“On the Global Waterfront: The Fight to Free the Charleston 5 is a narrative of profound significance for the labor movement. It speaks to civil and social rights that affect each and every one of us who are trade unionists as well as consumers in the international marketplace. This book offers a comprehensive understanding of labor's struggle by chronicling the events of one seemingly insignificant event, the arrest of 5 local, virtually unknown dockworkers; however, its larger impact speaks to where America stands for its people when put on trial in a global courtroom.”
"On the Global Waterfront challenges the reader to see that Charleston is happening everywhere, in different degrees. It shows connectedness, how the Charleston 5 case relates to all our lives. It's excellent. I really love the writing style. The book shows the full complexities of the case, including the internal union drama. It addresses racism so strongly, so powerfully, without reducing the centrality of class and labor. The book is part ethnography, part detective story. Durrenberger and Erem had access to a *wide* range of sources and used them well, like condiments and spices, to deepen and substantiate the story and then move it forward. I love the wide range of video 'evidence' and the arguments that it generates. It is just so unusual, so refreshing, to read the words and logic of anthropologists who don't shy away from an engaged class politics; awesome."
"I want to let you know how vivid, refreshing and informative I found On the Global Waterfront; it was clear, easy to follow, built dramatically—all that good stuff—and how great to see Charleston and labor from this viewpoint."
“As workers struggle to find a voice in a global economy, this important book not only shows how important international connections are, but most importantly, the step-by-step, careful work needed to win a victory.”
“Thomas Friedman's bestseller, The World is Flat, begins with his uplifting game of golf with a tycoon in India. Erem and Durrenberger never put on golf shoes: their book is globalization stripped down to its dirty underpants.”
“Your new book arrived, and it has just entered my current reading array (I enjoy 5-6 books at a time, rotating randomly). On the Global Waterfront has captured my attention - well organized and engagingly written. Obviously not resting on the laurels of your Labor Pains: Inside America’s New Union Movement, you quickly convinced me that this story has significance far beyond the compelling circumstances of its individual union and public officials players, while also allowing me to know each of them in a broader context of time and circumstance. Each day I resume my read with an enthusiasm akin to that stirred by a very good historical novel.”
Attorney and former Village of Oak Park trustee