Rebel Youth Book Review

1867 Words8 Pages
Ian Milligan
Rebel Youth, 1960’s Labour Unrest, Youth Workers, and new Leftists in English Canada
Vancouver, BC, UBC Press, 2015, 9780774826884

Book Review
Jonathan Lee (250780242)
Peter V. Krats – History 2125
November 18th, 2015

“Canada’s 1960’s were profoundly shaped by labour” (3), and remembered as a time of repression and conflict when the mass of young Canadians challenged the status quo and demanded for an egalitarian society. Ian Milligan’s well-written book, Rebel Youth, 1960’s labour unrest, youth workers, and new leftists in English Canada (Rebel Youth), discusses this significance and clarifies our perception of Canadian business and labour history in the 1960’s. Milligan begins in chapter one by summarizing the post-war period,
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With a slow economy and rising inflation, workers had intentions to share in the profits that were gained in the post war period. However, as the government and management resisted the unions’ demands, the workers’ anger grew, and the majority of them illegally walked off the job. Milligan believes that, as a result, these demonstrations not only influenced other Canadian workers to do the same, but also inspired workers in the United States to behave similarly. He…show more content…
He is successfully able to find specific events in Canadian history and link them to other relative events in the United States. Milligan goes on further to claim that these events “demonstrate the power of youth in the largest of Canada’s industrial corporation” (46). There is clear enough evidence to support this argument, which gives the reader the confidence to trust his overall discussion. His innovative use of thinking “outside of the box” makes this idea an interesting contribution to his work while also allowing him to prove his theory that labour affected the cultural and political movement of the sixties. I believe chapter two exemplified the best arguments and theories relayed in the whole book. Milligan’s description of the “wildcat wave” and the interviewee accounts of the disastrous strikes that occurred in that time bring out the harsh realities of the sixties; the stories told by the people who were there illustrate in human terms how important labour was to the average young worker. This chapter demonstrates the power of youth when they are divided in assigned work roles, which made for both a fascinating and enlightening read; I wished that the book had shed more light on these topics to further capture the essence and spirit of these critically important labour
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