Left of Center: European Labor Since World War II

In This Review

Left of Center: European Labor Since World War II

By Adolf Sturmthal
University of Illinois Press, 1983
302 pp. $21.95
Purchase

In many ways this is a sequel to the author's well-known Tragedy of European Labor, 1918-1939. The second postwar period did not quite mark the triumph of labor, but it did produce an indisputable improvement in the material and moral conditions of what traditionally has been called labor. But Sturmthal warns that neither improvement nor "the end of ideology" has meant "the end of social conflict." Today's struggle has become "a pragmatic strife in which the issues are less exciting for the historian of ideas, but no less consequential in terms of human lives. . . ." The book fastens on the achievements of labor and the effects of the new technology, but slights the existence of social groups which are not, as in the Marxist scheme, exploited, but are simply ignored, pushed into pockets of oblivion, neglect and moral exclusion.