THIS COFFIN HAS NO HANDLES Author:Thomas McGrath ISBN-09348410628 — It is just after World War II, and now the New York — waterfront is the battleground. On one side are union — workers---on the other, the owners and their minions. The — struggle is especially significant because at stake, symbol- — ically, is the new role of Labor in postwar America. — In this book, written in l947, McGrath prese... more »nts an immense
and detailed tableau of longshoremen, labor organizers,
gangsters, brilliant yet cynical bosses, and the many
ordinary people unwillingllly drawn into the battle and
forced to choose a side, weighing their fear against their
faith, their self-respect against their self-interest.
This book provides an utterly unique form of social
history...the political mechanics of an important historical
era, along with the minutiae of each individual's thoughts,
experiences, and motives---an astounding achievement.« less
An outstanding novel of the New York-New Jersey waterfront in the late 1940s by
a well-known poet, author of the long poem "Letter to an Imaginary Friend". In
the late '40s, McGrath actually worked on the waterfront as a union organizer for
a time, and draws upon this experience for this book. It is an antidote to the
movie "On the Waterfront" which falsified a number of the actual facts about
the lives of workers at that time. At times, McGrath's prose is close to poetry.