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The Reckoning by David Halberstam

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19. THE ORGANIZER

IN THE MIDST OF one of the periodic struggles in the fifties between Ford and GM in which Ford, seeing GM raise its price, immediately raised its own, Walter Reuther, head of the United Auto Workers, had scoffed at the Ford people. “This is the first time in the history of free enterprise,” he said, “where a company raised the price of its products in order to be competitive.” No one had a better sense of the weaknesses of the auto companies than Reuther; no one could tweak them better, and anticipate and counter their moves even before they knew they were going to make them. He towered over other labor leaders of his generation, idealistic and pragmatic, visionary and shrewd, the only man in America, Murray Kempton once wrote, ...

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