The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi

By Les Leopold
Chelsea Green

Click the Book



"The story of the man whom I consider to be the greatest labor leader of our generation. It was Mazzocchi who connected the labor movement with environmental group and scientists specializing in occupational diseases, with a broad humane agenda for working people so that they had a decent living standard and plenty of time for other pursuits. This World War II combat veteran probably traveled more miles, spoke with more blue collar workers and championed "just health care" more than any other American before his passing from cancer in 2002." --Ralph Nader, Nine Books That Make a Difference, counterpunch.org

"Tony Mazzocchi is one of New Jersey's great heroes. I say New Jersey because he was an autoworker in New Jersey and lived in Maplewood and Montclair. He is really national hero. Everyone should know about him. And now there is a great, lively, readable biography about him written by Les Leopold." --Tony Atlas, NJ.com

"In prose that unabashedly reflects the upbeat, streetwise worldview of its subject, Les Leopold delivers a vivid picture of Tony Mazzocchi [and] a wealth of practical lessons, as well as an excellent introduction to American left and labor history." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"Les Leopold has vividly brought to life an extraordinary man—and incorruptible fighter for the rights of labor—an historic figure who should never be forgotten. Whether leading the charge for the Occupational and Health Safety Act, protecting workers from toxic exposures, traveling the country to argue for health insurances, testifying before Congress, or inspiring a generation of student activists, Mazzocchi's fiery passion for social and economic justice was revealed in every action he took. And in Leopold he has found an equally passionate and dedicated biographer. This is an important work in the annals of labor history." --Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian

“When a company comes and exploits natural resources, there are laws that say they have to replenish those resources. Yet when a company comes into a town and exploits our greatest natural resource, our workers, there are few laws that protect the people. Tony Mazzocchi spent his life fighting to protect workers like those who lost their jobs in my hometown and all over the country. We still don't have those laws. But maybe this book can inspire us to move a few steps closer.” --Bruce Springsteen, Grammy Award-winning musician

The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor crackles with life—and it's hard to imagine a life better spent than Tony Mazzocchi's. He was a friend and an inspiration to me, as he will be to anyone who reads this riveting biography.” --Barbara Ehrenreich , author, Nickel and Dimed

“Tony Mazzocchi is one of the unsung, unnoticed heroes of the American working class, and Les Leopold's biography gives us the gift of his extraordinary life—from the battlefields of World War II to the present-day struggle for workers' rights. In that struggle, Tony Mazzocchi was brilliant, bold, imaginative, and fearless. He loved life, food, fun, and children, and I believe his story can inspire a new generation of activists to work for peace and economic justice.” --Howard Zinn, author, A People's History of the United States

“Tony Mazzocchi was one of the most visionary trade unionists in America. He wrote the book on building alliances between workers and environmentalists.” --Leo Gerard, President, United Steelworkers of America

“Tony Mazzocchi formed my understanding of the fundamental relationship between work and our environment. He always reminded me, ‘Carl, companies don't eliminate jobs because of environmental standards. They fight environmental standards so they can degrade and eliminate jobs. It's a skilled, motivated workforce they want to get away from, not clean air and clean water. Workers are the environment's first line of defense.” --Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club

“Tony Mazzocchi expressed the highest purposes of the labor movement. He constantly reminded us why we needed to build a broad social movement to bring justice and equality to our society—a movement that could unite unions, environmentalists, and social justice organizations in the global struggle to tame corporate power. His commitment to singlepayer health care and free higher education for all continues to inspire our work today. We hope his story will help fuel a new generation of movement activists.” --Rich Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO

"Les Leopold’s biography of Tony Mazzacchi should be required reading for anyone interested in the labor movement and social change. Mazzacchi is the real thing – a working class hero who worked to build a democratic, progressive movement representing the interests of working people not only in the workplace but beyond it. Mazzacchi’s life story is full of insight on organizing and democratic leadership and his example sets an inspiring path for union revitalization." --Elaine Bernard, Ph.D., Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School



Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award for Biography


Share memories of Tony Mazzocchi and read those of others on the discussion board.


Listen to a Writer's Voice interview with Les Leopold.

[upcoming events]

To schedule an event or media appearance click here

January 6, 2008
Online chat
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

January 7, 2008
Busboys & Poets
2021 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
7:00 pm

January 14, 2008
Red Hill Books
401 Cortland Avenue
San Francisco CA 94110
7 pm PT

January 17, 2008
UCLA Labor Center
675 S. Park View Street
Los Angeles CA 90057
3:30-5:00 pm PT

February 6, 2008
National Labor College
10000 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring MD 20903
7:00-8:30 pm

Thank you to all who worked hard on events in support of The Man Who Hated Work. . .

November 5, 2007
Radio Interview
Portland OR
6 pm PT

November 13, 2007
School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Cornell University
111 Ives Hall
Ithaca NY
4:15-6:15 pm

November 15, 2007
Radio Interview
Brain Labor Report, KSKQ
7:12 am PT

November 15, 2007
Watchung Booksellers
54 Fairfield Street
Montclair, NJ
7:00 pm

November 16, 2007
Bluestockings Books
172 Allen Street
New York NY 10002
7:00 pm

November 26, 2007
Radio Interview
Labor Exchange: KGNU
Boulder CO
5:00 pm MT

November 29, 2007
Radio Interview
Heartland Labor Forum Radio
University of Missouri
Kansas City MO
6:00 pm CT

November 30, 2007
Radio Interview
WUML 91.5 FM
Lowell MA
9:30 am ET

November 30, 2007
WEC Book Party
United Automobile Workers
56 Vineyard Rd.
Edison NY
2:30-4:00 pm

November 30, 2007
Radio Interview
World of Work: WDVR
New Jersey
4:00-5:00 pm

December 4, 2007
University of Massachussets
Lowell, MA

December 4, 2007
Book Party
Milky Way Lounge and Lanes
403-405 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain MA 02130
5:00-8:00 pm

December 5, 2007
Book Party
Professional Staff Congress
61 Broadway, 16th Floor
New York NY
6:00-8:00 pm

December 6, 2007
NYU Tamiment Library
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
10th Floor
70 Washington Square South
New York NY
5:30 pm

December 14, 2006
Connecticut Council of Occupational Saftey and Health
UAW Hall
11 South Rd.
Farmington CT
1:30 pm







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