The Rich Don't Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900–1970
$18.95 $14.21
  • Paperback
  • 384
  • November 27, 2012
  • 9781583228715

The Rich Don't Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900–1970

Sam Pizzigati

The Bernie Sanders bid for the White House has placed the “billionaire class” — and the need for a “political revolution” against it — right on America’s political center stage.

Mainstream political pundits have, by and large, dismissed that revolution as little more than a hopeless fantasy. Their skepticism essentially assumes that the super rich will always be with us.

But history — modern American history — tells a different story, and no book tells that story better than The Rich Don’t Always Win.

A century ago, author and veteran labor journalist Sam Pizzigati relates, the United States hosted a super rich even more domineering than ours today. Yet fifty years later, that super rich had almost entirely disappeared. Their majestic mansions and estates had become museums and college campuses, and America had become a mass middle class nation, the first and finest the world had ever seen.

Americans today ought to be taking no small inspiration from this stunning change. After all, if our forbears successfully beat back grand fortune, why can't we? But this transformation is inspiring virtually no one. Why? Because the story behind it has remained almost totally unknown, until now.

The Rich Don't Always Win speaks directly to today’s hopes for fundamental political change. By tracing how average Americans took down plutocracy over the first half of the 20th century, this lively popular history outfits the 99 percent with just the sort of understanding we need to get the United States back on track to the American dream.

Check out The Rich Don't Always Win introductory chapter. Read it online here.



"Make room for The Rich Don't Always Win on your bookshelf right next to Howard Zinn's  A People's History of the United States. In his lively, engrossing new book, Sam Pizzigati tells the story of class inequality in America, from the robber barons to today's 1 %. The title alone is a refreshing reminder that there have been times when the middle class pushed back against the growth of plutocracy—and won. We can do that again and, as Pizzigati makes clear, we have to."—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

"This inspiring history offers a bold blueprint for today’s equality movements. We beat back the powerful rule of the wealthy to end the first Gilded Age.  We can beat back our current Gilded Age, too, and reverse the extreme inequalities of wealth and power that undermine all that we care about.”—Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies, author of 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It

"Only 50 years ago, America 'soaked' the rich with a 91 percent income tax. And guess what? America prospered! Not just the rich, but ordinary families. With colorful detail, Sam Pizzigati tells us why we should revisit that policy of prosperity for ALL, rather that for the plutocratic few."—Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and New York Times best-selling author

"Bold, thorough, and above all inspiring—an energizing and spirited reminder of what it took, and what it will take, to once again make ours a nation of equals."—Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism, and the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland

About Sam Pizzigati

A veteran labor journalist, SAM PIZZIGATI has written widely on economic inequality for both popular and scholarly readers. His op-eds and articles on income and wealth have appeared in a host of major American dailies, from the New York Times to the Miami Herald, and a broad variety of magazines and journals. His last book, Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives, won a coveted "outstanding title" rating of the year Choice rating from the American Library Association. Pizzigati ran the publishing operations of America's largest union, the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, for twenty years and now serves as an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. His online weekly on excess and inequality, Too Much, goes to a national audience of journalists, researchers, and economic justice activists. Pizzigati has appeared as an expert commentator on inequality on 150+ radio and TV talk and news programs, from Pacifica to Fox Business News.

We also suggest: