BOOK REVIEW: RADICAL ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT AMERICAN LABOR LAW VALUES AND ASSUMPTIONS IN AMERICAN LABOR LAW. By James B. Atleson. Skip over navigation
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Copyright 1984 The Columbia Law Review.

Columbia Law Review

BOOK REVIEW: RADICAL ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT AMERICAN LABOR LAW

VALUES AND ASSUMPTIONS IN AMERICAN LABOR LAW. By James B. Atleson.

Amherst, Mass.: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1983. Pp. x, 240. $ 25.00.

MAY, 1984

84 Colum. L. Rev. 1118

Author

Reviewed by David M. Rabban *

Excerpt

By writing Values and Assumptions in American Labor Law, James B. Atleson has produced what few have even attempted: a book-length treatment of American labor law that is both synthetic and critical. Commending this book for contributing to a largely barren field, however, hardly begins to convey its ambition. Atleson has made a conscious effort to rely on a broader range of sources and methods than is typical in the existing literature on labor law. Instead of limiting himself to doctrinal analysis of the decisions produced by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the courts, Atleson has searched for what he claims to be the underlying and often hidden values and assumptions that really account for the legal results. In pursuing these basic values and assumptions. Atleson has relied extensively on recent scholarship in other disciplines, particularly the rich literature in labor history that generally dates from the publication in 1963 of E. P. Thompson's masterpiece, The Making of the English Working Class. 1 Atleson integrates this historical research into a provocative and original approach to labor law. Perhaps as a result of his interdisciplinary attempt to uncover fundamentals, his book does not presume extensive prior knowledge of labor law or labor history. It should, therefore, be accessible to the general reader as well as stimulating to the specialist.

Stylistic and analytic weaknesses make Values and Assumptions in American Labor Law more difficult to read than it could have been. Atleson does not adequately specify or ...
 
 
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