This book provides a significant revision of South African labor history and makes an important contribution to the debate about apartheid's genesis. Using a range of untapped sources, it shows that there was far more strike action during World War II than has been officially acknowledged. A new working class, sometimes organized into multiracial unions, won improved wages and softened racial prejudice among white workers.
Contradicting earlier accounts, this study demonstrates that wartime mechanization and black advance ment into semi-skilled positions were limited and cannot explain subsequent support for apartheid.
Peter Alexander is the South African Research Chair in Social Change and a professor of sociology at the University of Johannesburg.
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