IWJ Book Recommendations

Ian Pajer-Rogers |

Whether you still have holiday shopping left or you're looking for some good reads for the new year, here are some books about worker justice and faith that you might enjoy: 

Collision Course

by Joe McCartin

Collision Course, written by Joseph McCartin (Oxford University Press, 2011), tells the story of a labor union that tangles with the President of the United States. The air traffic controllers who confronted President Reagan seeded not only their own demise, but put in jeopardy the whole labor movement. Brilliantly told, this story is pivotal to understanding the current situation of working people, the shrinking middle class, and union organizing in America’s 21 Century.

There Shall Be No Needy

by Rabbi Jill Jacobs

There Shall Be No Needy makes a powerful argument for participation in the American public square from a deeply Jewish perspective, while deepening our understanding of the relationship between Judaism and such current social issues. Confront the most pressing issues of twenty-first-century America in this fascinating book, which brings together classical Jewish sources, contemporary policy debate and real-life stories.

No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam

by Reza Aslan

Though it is the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam remains shrouded by ignorance and fear. What is the essence of this ancient faith? Is it a religion of peace or war? How does Allah differ from the God of Jews and Christians? Can an Islamic state be founded on democratic values such as pluralism and human rights? A writer and scholar of comparative religions, Reza Aslan has earned international acclaim for the passion and clarity he has brought to these questions. In No god but God, challenging the “clash of civilizations” mentality that has distorted our view of Islam, Aslan explains this critical faith in all its complexity, beauty, and compassion.

Blue Collar Jesus

by Darren Cushman Wood

Blue Collar Jesus: How Christianity Supports Workers Rights offers the most thorough analysis to date of workers rights from a religious perspective. The book reveals biblical and ethical principles for justice in the work place, and explores the vast and diverse tradition of labor activism among the major Christian factions. From the Roman Catholic Church to the Southern Baptists Convention, Cushman analyzes the history and beliefs that support labor unions. With rich historical and theological insights, Cushman argues persuasively that labor unions are legitimate instruments of God’s will for creating a just society. Never before published interviews and archival information makes Blue Collar Jesus a fascinating study of the relationship between labor and religion.

The Francis Effect

by John Gehring

The Francis Effect explores how a church once known as a towering force for social justice became known for a narrow agenda most closely aligned with one political party, and then looks at the opportunities for change in the “age of Francis.” Pope Francis has become an unlikely global star whose image has graced the covers of Rolling StoneThe New YorkerTime, and even the nation’s oldest magazine for gays and lesbians. The first Latin American pope, the first Jesuit, and the first to take the name of a beloved saint of the poor, Francis is shaking up a church that has been mired in scandal and demoralized by devastating headlines.

Wage Theft in America: Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid And What We Can Do About It

by Kim Bobo

In what has been described as “the crime wave no one talks about,” billions of dollars worth of wages are stolen from millions of workers in the United States every year—a grand theft that exceeds every other larceny category. Even the Economic Policy Foundation, a business-funded think tank, has estimated that companies annually steal an incredible $19 billion in unpaid overtime. The scope of these abuses is staggering, but activists, unions, and policymakers—along with everyday Americans in congregations and towns across the country—have begun to take notice.