Making Work Better

A selection of new and recent Canadian labour-history books.

Compiled by Canada’s History

April 29, 2019

This spring is the centenary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, one of the most significant events in Canadian social history.

To mark the occasion, a few publishers have released new titles about the Winnipeg strike or new editions of books about the strike. Meanwhile, several others have recently published books about a range of aspects of Canadian labour history.

The books listed here explore the lives of workers — and would-be workers — across a range of occupations and across the country, including the stories of women, minorities, and people with disabilities.

Magnificent Fight: The Winnipeg General Strike, by Dennis Lewycky

1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg General Strike, by The Graphic History Collective and David Lester

Winnipeg 1919: The Strikers’ Own History of the General Strike, edited by Norman Penner

Working Lives: Essays in Canadian Working-Class History, by Craig Heron

They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada, by Cecil Foster

Wages for Housework: A History of an International Feminist Movement, 1972–77, by Louise Toupin

Working towards Equity: Disability Rights Activism and Employment in Late Twentieth-Century Canada, by Dustin Galer

Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Violence at Work in the North American Auto Industry, 1960–80, by Jeremy Milloy

On the Line: A History of the British Columbia Labour Movement, by Rod Mickleburgh

Through the Mill: Girls and Women in the Quebec Cotton Textile Industry, 1881–1951, by Gail Cuthbert Brandt

One Job Town: Work, Belonging, and Betrayal in Northern Ontario, by Steven High

Read our review.

Power, Politics, and Principles: Mackenzie King and Labour, 1935–1948, by Taylor Hollander

Canadian Carnival Freaks and the Extraordinary Body, 1900–1970s, by Jane Nicholas

Rough Work: Labourers on the Public Works of British North America and Canada, 1841–1882, by Ruth Bleasdale

Direct Action Gets the Goods: A Graphic History of the Strike in Canada, by The Graphic History Collective

Westray: My Journey from Darkness to Light, by Vernon Thibault, as told to Marjorie Coady

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