Books for changing the world
Live Working or Die Fighting
How the Working Class Went Global

"This is micro-historical writing at its best."—Walden Bello, author of Dilemmas of Domination

"Brilliant."—Ken Loach

The stories in this book come to life through the voices of remarkable individuals: child laborers in Dickensian England, visionary women on Parisian barricades, gun-toting railway strikers in America’s Wild West, and beer-swilling German metalworkers who tried to stop World War I.

It is a story of urban slums, self-help cooperatives, choirs and brass bands, free love, and self-education by candlelight. And, as the author shows, in the developing industrial economies of the world, it is still with us. Live Working or Die Fighting celebrates a common history of defiance, idealism, and self-sacrifice, one as alive and active today as it was two hundred years ago. It is a unique and inspirational book.

Paul Mason is an award-winning journalist who reports regularly on labor rights and social justice stories as economics editor for BBC World News America and BBC Newsnight. In addition to Live Working or Die Fighting, which was shortlisted as a 2007 Guardian First Book Award, Mason is the author of Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed (Verso Books).

  • "What does a young Chinese woman working in a battery-charging plant have to do with the Peterloo massacre, or Bolivian tin miners with early 20th-century German socialism, or Nigerian slum-dwellers with the Paris Commune? A lot, argues Mason's brilliantly conceived and beautifully written book. Each chapter begins with contemporary reportage and then delves into the past, drawing surprising and illuminating parallels. Mason has found a way to make his book vividly accessible without compromising its intellectual force." The Guardian

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