A friend and I have been in conversation about the books he should write now that he is retired from teaching. My suggestion: short case studies for classroom use about relatively successful social movements. I say relatively because historians know there are no permanent victories, only processes that sometimes lead to improved conditions while new problems emerge. Refinery Town is one such book, useful for a course on urban studies, leftist political movements, or the power of oil companies at the local level. It is also a fast and enjoyable read for anyone interested in learning about how an intrepid bunch of old lefties took over the reins of Richmond, California, and turned it into a progressive city alongside its famous neighbors, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland, but with much less money or recognition. Journalist Steve Early demonstrates that the task...

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