New York: Doubleday,Doran & Company, 1939. First Edition. Octavo. (20 cm x 14 cm) 267 pp. Full tan buckram cloth. Dark brown blind-stamped image of three men on a train on lower right corner of front board, titles in spine also dark brown. Light edgewear to boards. Dust jacket, with considerable wear, in large pieces, but reinforced in archival liner and with little image and text loss, with most loss at the spine. Very good. Very scarce. Item #128
William Attaway's first novel was on the subject which concerned him throughout his life -- the labor movement in America. The white protagonists are poor itinerant, agricultural workers, who travel Depression Era America with a young Mexican boy who teaches them how their humanity is more important than the next payday. Due to a similar plot, early reviews had inevitable comparisons to Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men". But, Attaway and Steinbeck were part of a growing social movement and call for economic changes, especially for migrant workers and laborers. The American labor movement, would eventually be fueled by the crushing hardships of the Great Depression, lead to the African-American Great Migration to the North, the agricultural migrations of poor whites escaping the Dust Bowl and the migrant workers coming from Mexico to work in the West. Attaway himself, whose own family was part of the Great Migration, dropped out of college to work as a day laborer, to experience for himself the struggles and concerns of the growing Civil Rights and Labor Movement. Attaway was part of the Federal Writer's Project, a personal friend of Richard Wright and marched with Martin Luther King Jr.. Perhaps best known for his second novel, "Blood on the Forge" (1941), he was also a prolific television and film writer and, ultimately, a studied ethnologist, noted for collecting and publishing traditional Caribbean folk songs for posterity.