Labor History Seminar, New Book Symposium: Joseph McCartin, Georgetown University

Center for American History and Culture Programs
Labor History Seminar
Saturday, January 21, 2012

11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America (Oxford University Press, 2011)
Featuring Author Joseph McCartin, Georgetown University

Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America sets the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization strike within a vivid panorama of the rise of the world’s busiest air-traffic control system. It begins with an arresting account of the 1960 midair collision over New York that cost 134 lives and exposed the weaknesses of an overburdened system. Through the stories of controllers like Mike Rock and Jack Maher, who were galvanized into action by that disaster and went on to found PATCO, it describes the efforts of those who sought to make the airways safer and fought to win a secure place in the American middle class. It climaxes with the story of Reagan and the controllers, who surprisingly endorsed the Republican on the promise that he would address their grievances. That brief, fateful alliance triggered devastating miscalculations that changed America, forging patterns that still govern the nation’s labor politics.

Commentators: Rosemary Feurer, Northern Illinois University; Tom Geoghegan, labor attorney and author; Jack Metzgar, Roosevelt University; and Liesl Orenic, Dominican University

Unlike other meetings of the Labor History Seminar, the new book symposium does not have a pre-circulated paper. This session will consider the recently published book, Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America, and will include comments from a panel of respondents and the audience as well as reflections from the author, Joseph McCartin.