This is a book about working-class identity, consciousness, and self-determination. It offers an alternative to middle-class assimiliation and working-class amnesia. The twenty-five contributors use memory--both personal and collective--to show the relationship between the uncertain economic rhythms of working-class life and the possibilities for cultural and political agency. Manual labor and intellectual work are connected in these multicultural autobiographies of writers, educators, artists, political activists, musicians, and photographers and in the cultural work--the poems, stories, photographs, lectures, music--they produce. Illustrated with family snapshots, this collection--the first of its kind--includes the work of a female machinist who is also a poet, a secretary who is also a writer, a poet who worked on the assembly line, a musician who was also a red-diaper baby, and an academic who is recovering the working-class writing of her father. The consciousness that is revealed in this book makes evident the value of class identity to collective, democratic struggle. The contributors are Maggie Anderson, Steve Cagan, Jim Daniels, Lennard Davis, Masani Alexis de Veaux, Sue Doro, Julie Olsen Edwards, Carol Faulkner, Barbara Fox, Laura Hapke, Florence Howe, David Joseph, Linda McCarriston, Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel, Gregory Mantsios, M. Bella Mirabella, Joseph Nassar, Tillie Olsen, Maxine Scates, Saul Slapikoff, Clarissa T. Sligh, Carol Tarlen, Joann Maria Vasoncellos, Pat Wynne, and Janet Zandy.