Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Discovering A.H. Raskin’s review of COLLISION by Kenneth C. Crowe

One of the great disappointments of my writing life was the failure of the New York Times to review COLLISION, my book about Teamsters for a Democratic Union and the election of Ron Carey to the presidency of the union in 1992.
When COLLISION was published in February, 1993, I was told in confidence by Moe Foner of 1199, the hospital workers union, that A.H. Raskin, the great labor writer, had written a review of the book for the New York Times. Moe was a mutual friend of both Raskin and me.
I so looked forward to reading what Abe Raskin (whom I greatly admired) had to say about my book. Eventually, COLLISION was reviewed by the Washington Post, Newsday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer; the list goes on of major newspapers and magazines all over the country. But it doesn’t include the New York Times.
Raskin, who had been ill for some time, died at the age of 82 in December, 1993.
I had always wondered whether he finished the review and then: I was roaming the internet where I discovered a reference to Raskin’s papers including “Review of Collision by Kenneth C. Crowe undated.”
Finally, I could read what Raskin said about my book.
I went to New York University’s Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, where I discovered that the Raskin papers had been processed in 2011 by project archivist Daniel Michelson.
I love Abe Raskin’s review. These excerpts explain why:
“In ‘Collision’, written by Kenneth C. Crowe, we find an accurate, brilliant, fact-filled chronology of the plight of the rank and file in their attempt to take back the reins of power.
“For the student of labor wishing to be well versed in the inner revolution of the rank and file against the stronghold of the mob, this book will serve as an invaluable source of information...
“Citing the difficult rise to authority in the blatantly non-democratic Teamsters, the book describes the struggle of those such as the brave and devotedly committed union patriot, Ronald Carey and his 35 year ascent to his present position as president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.”
(Raskin gives credit to TDU for the significant support that rank and file organization gave to Carey.)
Raskin continued: “In years to come ‘Collision’ will be viewed as an invaluable reference book, an encyclopedia of the post-Hoffa Teamster era.”
Raskin’s assessment of the significance of COLLISION as “an invaluable reference book” has proven true. COLLISION has been cited in numerous civil and criminal lawsuits, research papers, and labor books.

A suggestion: my novel, THE TRUCKERS, has been described as a fun read. It is serious and tragic too. Try it free on KindleSmashwordsBarnes and Noble, or Apple.

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