NEW BOOK: Blood, Sweat, and Fear Violence at Work in the North American Auto Industry, 1960-80

By Jeremy Milloy

Going postal. We think of the rogue employee who snaps. But in Blood, Sweat, and Fear, Jeremy Milloy demonstrates that workplace violence never occurs in isolation. Using violence as a lens, he provides fresh and original insights into the everyday workings of capitalism, class conflict, race, and gender in the United States and Canada of the late twentieth century, bringing historical perspective to contemporary debates about North American violence.

Blood, Sweat, and Fear is the first full-length historical exploration of the origins and effects of individual violence in the automotive industry. Milloy’s gripping analysis spans 1960 to 1980, when North American auto plants were routinely the sites of fights, assaults, and even murders. He argues that the high levels of violence were primarily the result of workplace conditions – including on-the-job exploitation, racial tension, bureaucratization, and hypermasculinity – that made fear and loathing a shop-floor reality long before mass shootings attracted media attention in the 1980s.

Workplace violence is typically the domain of management studies and psychology, but while we pass legislation and adopt best practices, the problem continues. Milloy's explosive book reveals that workplace violence has been a constant aspect of class conflict – and that our understanding needs to go deeper.


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