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Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism
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Published:
The New Press 2010
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Checked Out
Description
"Olmsted finds in Depression-era California the crucible for strong-arm policies against farm workers that bolstered the conservative movement" (Kirkus Reviews). At a time when a resurgent immigrant labor movement is making urgent demands on twenty-first-century America—and when a new and virulent strain of right-wing anti-immigrant populism is roiling the political waters—Right Out of California is a fresh and profoundly relevant touchstone for anyone seeking to understand the roots of our current predicament. This major reassessment of modern conservatism reexamines the explosive labor disputes in the agricultural fields of Depression-era California, the cauldron that inspired a generation of artists and writers and that triggered the intervention of FDR's New Deal. Noted historian Kathryn S. Olmsted tells how this brief moment of upheaval terrified business leaders into rethinking their relationship to American politics—a narrative that pits a ruthless generation of growers against a passionate cast of reformers, writers, and revolutionaries. "Olmstead's vivid, accomplished narrative really belongs to the historiography of the left . . . As her strong research shows, race and gender prejudice informed, or deformed, almost the whole of American social and cultural life in the 1930s and was as common on the left as on the right." —The New York Times Book Review "An accessible work that aids in contextualizing the rise of future conservative leaders such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan." —Publishers Weekly "A major reworking of the Republican right's origins, this is also a compelling read for anyone interested in California's outsize importance in America's recent past." —Darren Dochuk, author of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/11/2010
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781620971390
ASIN:
B011H51AEG
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APA Citation (style guide)

Kathryn S. Olmsted. (2010). Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism. The New Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kathryn S. Olmsted. 2010. Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism. The New Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kathryn S. Olmsted, Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism. The New Press, 2010.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kathryn S. Olmsted. Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism. The New Press, 2010. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Kathryn S. Olmsted is chair of the history department at the University of California, Davis. A noted historian of anticommunism, she is the author of several books, including Challenging the Secret Government, Red Spy Queen, and Real Enemies. She lives in Davis, California.

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"Olmsted finds in Depression-era California the crucible for strong-arm policies against farm workers that bolstered the conservative movement" (Kirkus Reviews).

At a time when a resurgent immigrant labor movement is making urgent demands on twenty-first-century America—and when a new and virulent strain of right-wing anti-immigrant populism is roiling the political waters—Right Out of California is a fresh and profoundly relevant touchstone for anyone seeking to understand the roots of our current predicament.

This major reassessment of modern conservatism reexamines the explosive labor disputes in the agricultural fields of Depression-era California, the cauldron that inspired a generation of artists and writers and that triggered the intervention of FDR's New Deal. Noted historian Kathryn S. Olmsted tells how this brief moment of upheaval terrified business leaders into rethinking their relationship to...
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title
Right Out of California
fullDescription
"Olmsted finds in Depression-era California the crucible for strong-arm policies against farm workers that bolstered the conservative movement" (Kirkus Reviews).

At a time when a resurgent immigrant labor movement is making urgent demands on twenty-first-century America—and when a new and virulent strain of right-wing anti-immigrant populism is roiling the political waters—Right Out of California is a fresh and profoundly relevant touchstone for anyone seeking to understand the roots of our current predicament.

This major reassessment of modern conservatism reexamines the explosive labor disputes in the agricultural fields of Depression-era California, the cauldron that inspired a generation of artists and writers and that triggered the intervention of FDR's New Deal. Noted historian Kathryn S. Olmsted tells how this brief moment of upheaval terrified business leaders into rethinking their relationship to American politics—a narrative that pits a ruthless generation of growers against a passionate cast of reformers, writers, and revolutionaries.

"Olmstead's vivid, accomplished narrative really belongs to the historiography of the left . . . As her strong research shows, race and gender prejudice informed, or deformed, almost the whole of American social and cultural life in the 1930s and was as common on the left as on the right." —The New York Times Book Review

"An accessible work that aids in contextualizing the rise of future conservative leaders such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan." —Publishers Weekly

"A major reworking of the Republican right's origins, this is also a compelling read for anyone interested in California's outsize importance in America's recent past." —Darren Dochuk, author of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt
sortTitle
Right Out of California The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "An accessible work that aids in contextualizing the rise of future conservative leaders such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus
      • content: "A well-focused academic study. Olmsted . . . finds in Depression-era California the crucible for strong-arm policies against farm workers that bolstered the conservative movement."
      • premium: False
      • source: Darren Dochuk, author of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism
      • content: "A major reworking of the Republican right's origins, this is also a compelling read for anyone interested in California's outsize importance in America's recent past."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chicago Tribune
      • content: Praise for Real Enemies:
        “Exquisitely researched and annotated...A startling read of public history."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Nation
      • content: Praise for Challenging the Secret Government:
        "Olmsted successfully confronts and refutes the heroic myths surrounding post-Watergate journalism."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "A fascinating study of how, just months after Watergate, both press and Congress quietly retreated to the same silk-gloved handling of the CIA and FBI in the name of national security."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Wall Street Journal
      • content: Praise for Red Spy Queen:
        "One of the most significant works to emerge in McCarthyism studies since the collapse of communism."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "A revealing and compassionate biography."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        July 13, 2015
        Olmsted (Real Enemies), chair of the history department at the University of California, Davis, suggests that the New Deal’s National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, which lacked protection for agricultural workers who wanted to unionize, served as the catalyst for the organization of the political right as it is known today. Olmsted’s research goes beyond newspaper archives and government transcripts, many of which, she points out, purposely did not record statements and speeches made by union organizers. Instead, she delves into oral histories and personal papers to tell the stories of how growers used violence, espionage, and virulent anti-Communist rhetoric to invoke the idea that unions would destroy the family, traditional gender roles, and whites’ ability to subjugate non-whites. Olmsted expressly places a larger focus on women’s involvement in the struggle for fair treatment of pickers, writing at length on Communist organizer Caroline Decker and political activist Ella Winter. This fuller perspective—along with sections on famous literary figures of the time, including Upton Sinclair, Langston Hughes, and John Steinbeck—cements Olmsted’s authority on the subject of labor organization. This is an accessible work that aids in contextualizing the rise of future conservative leaders such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. B&w photos.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 15, 2015
        A well-focused academic study of how the California agriculture business helped spur the conservative backlash against New Deal policies. Olmsted (Chair, History/Univ. of California, Davis; Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11, 2009, etc.) finds in Depression-era California the crucible for strong-arm policies against farm workers that bolstered the conservative movement. A key omission in the New Deal's early recovery programs for the faltering economy was protection of farm laborers for the same reason, the author notes, they were later excluded from the Social Security Act and the National Labor Relations Act: "powerful Southern Democrats wanted to maintain control over their tenant farmers and sharecroppers." In California, in particular, the agricultural leaders were both grateful for the subsidies offered by the Agricultural Adjustment Act and determined to bust the unions encouraged by the New Deal. In successive strikes across the state led by prominent communist union organizers like Pat Chambers and Caroline Decker in 1933, as the crops ripened in the fields, harvesters refused to work, hoping to raise wages. In response, the powerful growers would instigate all sorts of intimidation tactics and arrests, and they began to organize themselves-e.g., in the Associated Farmers, a group that "spread the word about the Communist threat." The agitation prompted bohemian writer sympathizers like John Steinbeck, Ella Winter, and Lincoln Steffens to alert a national audience to the strikers' cause in their work. One example was Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle (1936), although, curiously, he eliminated people of color and women to showcase only white men's struggles. Olmsted examines the federal response in the form of labor chief Frances Perkins' associate, Gen. Pelham Glassford, who was sent into the Imperial Valley to solve labor disputes, recognizing that "growers were no better than thugs." The author also discusses the rise of professional political consultants and leaders like Richard Nixon, who perfected the smear campaign. A work that knowledgeably situates the pioneering of a nasty new style of politics.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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