This chapter presents a portrait of Harvey Swados, whose novels, stories, and spirited reportage in the last decade and a half of his life helped uncover the political and social drama that unfolds in the daily routine of every American workplace. Nothing he wrote accomplished this with more power and insight than the series of interconnected short stories called On the Line, which first appeared in the fall of 1957. This humane and sympathetic portrait of the psychological and social brutality inherent in midcentury factory work injected a moral urgency into the understanding of manual labor at a time, early in the postwar era, when most literary and political intellectuals were convinced that all meaning had been drained from the toil still required of so many millions.
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