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Reviews

"In a prewar era popularly associated with corruption ('Chinatown') and Hollywood, Los Angeles actively put together a white-collar establishment of team players, go-getters and strait-lacers."

"Business, labor, and gender historians will place Company Men with the best new business histories."

"A valuable contribution... [an] analysis of the corporate side of creating a white-collar work force [that] historians of business will find a valuable addition to the literature, while students of Los Angeles will welcome [as] a new study that adds significantly to the record of the city's past."

"A lively, well-researched, and well-argued study of office work that also illuminates local history."

"The 'company man' is so ensconced in American culture that we take him for granted. Maybe that is why historians have ignored him. In this eye-opening work, Clark Davis reminds us that company men emerged out of specific, often fascinating, historical circumstances and that Los Angeles had a lot to do with it. This book has much to tell us about who we are—as a people and a nation."

"Davis's detailed probing into divergent firms reveals surprising similarities in managerial style, sources of conflict (particularly between the goals of companies and employees), and the development of such things as profit-sharing and fringe benefits to reduce the problem of turnover and strengthen corporate loyalty. Davis argues that corporate strategies evolved in response to employee needs, a refreshing shift of perspective that gives agency to 'agents' and demonstrates the contingent nature of corporate power. Corporate executives' attempts to enfold the desires and needs of employees into their companies' economic and social goals were not always successful; employees, including managers, took what they wanted and disregarded the rest. Rather than omnipotent corporations manipulating vestigial workers, Davis describes the slippery and chaotic accommodations and refusals each side made."

"Clark Davis has painstakingly peeled away much of the social veneer that obscures 'company men' from historical analysis."