The idea for the list came from the Books that Shaped America exhibition sponsored by the Library of Congress in 2012 – an exhibit which sparked a national conversation about the impact of books on overall American life and culture.
“Not surprisingly, many of the books included in the exhibition address issues related to work,” according to the DOL, which side the wide range of books cited underscored the significant role published works have played in shaping American workers and workplaces.
Notables such as several former Secretaries of Labor made recommendations to get the list started, but all are welcome to suggest a book to add to the list.
Five recent additions
Five titles, suggested overwhelmingly by the public, have been added to the list recently:
"Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand's fourth and last novel, and her strongest fictional assertion of objectivism
"Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type," a children's book by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, which tells the story of a labor-management dispute between Farmer Brown and his resident bovines
"The Good Earth" by Pearl Buck, which describes life in agrarian China in the early 1900s
"Moby Dick" by Herman Melville, one of the most well-known pieces of America literature and considered a "quintessential" book about work; and
"The Words of César Chávez," edited by Richard J. Jensen and John C. Hammerback, a compendium of the orations of the Mexican-American farm worker and labor leader who, in 1962, co-founded what would become the United Farm Workers of America.
A work in progress
The DOL says the list is, and always will be, a work in progress, since — like America itself — work is constantly changing and evolving.
Click here to learn about the other books on the list – or suggest one that you you think should be on it.