Readers of this sophisticated and compelling book will hear pleasant echoes of Peter Winn’s now-classic Weavers of Revolution. They will also benefit from Klubock’s skillful and rich analysis of topics that have entered academic debate more recently: citizenship and nationalism, the culture of international politics, and gender.

At one level, this is an inspired social and labor history that depicts conflicts around the U.S.-owned Braden Copper Company’s efforts to discipline its workers at the El Teniente copper mine. In response to an increased world demand for copper after World War I, Braden sought to increase production and to stabilize and subdue its seasonal, transient, and unruly workforce. It provided material incentives and welfare benefits, established a company union, and, with the support of local and national state officials, repressed worker attempts to organize independently. However, the advent of popular-front governments in 1939 altered the balance of power in the mining camps. With the support of the government and leftist parties, workers organized an independent union and successfully mobilized to improve living and working conditions. Popular-front leaders nevertheless sought to channel miners’ mobilizations for their own ends, and in the post-World War II era, the government eventually moved to repress El Teniente’s workers in order to assure economic aid from the United States government and private investment by United States corporations. Klubock thus details the shifting relations among workers, national leaders, and Braden officials, borrowing from the tradition of Latin American labor history pioneered by Winn. Yet Klubock’s focus on a U.S.-owned enterprise allows him to add an extra layer of complexity. He shows how workers, who experienced the racism and classism of U.S. bosses firsthand, instigated, and then appropriated, the nationalist anti-imperialism of Chile’s political elite. He also describes the difficult position of national leaders caught between the need to satisfy powerful United States interests and a professed desire to improve conditions for Chile’s poor.

The most innovative sections of this book explore gender, sexuality, and working-class culture. The author convincingly argues that gender was crucial to company attempts to stabilize its workforce as well as to class formation. Braden officials believed that the fleeting relationships between miners and the itinerant, single women who populated the mining camps promoted labor unrest. They therefore forced miners into marriage, provided family allowances to men who formalized family ties, built housing for married workers and schools for workers’ children, and generally promoted a model of middle-class domesticity. By teaching miners’ wives how to raise their children, cook, save, decorate their homes, and please their husbands, Braden sought to mold a future generation of workers and smooth over the harsh life in the camps. Yet this strategy backfired as working-class families united in opposition to the company.

In two very lively and insightful chapters, Klubock examines working-class masculinity. Miners, he shows, developed a ribald masculine camaraderie chat celebrated insubordination. Yet this masculine culture, cemented at work and in rituals of drinking and betting, functioned ambiguously. Miners’ celebration of virile strength and hard work made them efficient producers. Their defiant masculinity favored spontaneous rebellion over union organization and contradicted the more austere, family-centered culture promoted by union leaders. Rituals of male bonding could be explicitly misogynist, expressing fear of a purportedly treacherous female sexuality.

The only flaw in this tremendously accomplished book is its overly linear narrative of change. Klubock chronicles the move away from more raucous and autonomous forms of working-class sociability and toward a “middle-class” model of domesticity. Yet the book glosses over the uneven, inconsistent nature of that process and fails to account for long-standing strains of domesticity in working-class culture, many of which preceded welfare capitalism. This is, however, a small flaw in a work that combines incisive analysis and moving narrative.