cover image Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-Mart Economy

Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-Mart Economy

Shane Hamilton. Princeton University Press, $30.95 (305pp) ISBN 978-0-691-13582-3

This detailed, closely argued book chronicles the U.S. trucking industry's history, particularly its role in rolling back New Deal policies and regulations, ""paving the way for the low-wage, low-price capitalism that would define the final decades of the twentieth-century political economy."" Associate history professor Hamilton (Univ. of Georgia) provides a clear if dry tour of 20th century regulation issues case by case, documenting the rise of unions, automated agribusiness, the marginalizing of independent operators and the increased demand for ""vigorously anti-New Deal"" policies for farm country. Though at times repetitive, the decentralized, grassroots nature of the movement keeps things lively, and Hamilton is a knowledgeable guide to everything from beef trusts to the National Farmers Organization to the 1979 strike that opens the book, in which 75,000 truckers tried to shut down the nation's highway system. Economy and market buffs looking for a different perspective on America's 20th century economic evolution will find this intriguing and informative.