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'Eugene V. Debs' Resurrects A Stubborn Question: Why Is Labor History So Boring?

Turn-of-the-last-century labor leader Eugene V. Debs lead an interesting life — but this graphic biography misses plenty of opportunities to render the most interesting parts of it on the page.
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Why labor history so boring? Left-leaning intellectuals have worried at this question for decades. Back in 1983, Irving Howe suggested that the field's notorious leadenness stems from a deep-seated attraction to ideas over people. "The Marxist mind finds itself drawn, with an almost punitive willfulness, to such abstractions as 'social forces,' 'political positions,' and 'relations of production,'" he wrote in a about turn-of-the-century labor leader Eugene V. Debs. "Before these formidable categories,

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