Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 12
Fall 1991
Labor's love lost: A Hoffa biography

     "I may have faults, but being wrong ain't one of them."
                                        James R. Hoffa (1913-1975)

     "Hoffa's middle name was Riddle and more than a few observers
have pointed out that he was, in fact, a mass of contradictions. He
possessed a considerable temper and thought nothing of publicly
tongue-lashing some of his closest associates.  But he was capable of
enormous kindness, was consistently financially generous to a fault,
and as Teamsters president, seemed to be constitutionally unable to
fire anyone.  ...He was also, despite his celebrity status, a very
private person who did not like anyone outside of his immediate
family, especially women, to touch him."
                                   from Hoffa by Arthur A. Sloane

     Arthur A. Sloane, professor of industrial relations at the
University is author of Hoffa, the first comprehensive biography of
the enigmatic labor leader, published this summer by MIT Press.
     Building on an interest in Hoffa that began almost 30 years ago,
Sloane began doing intensive research in 1989 then took a sabbatical
from the University to write the book.
     Sloane first met Hoffa in 1962 when, as he says in the book, "I
was a Harvard Business School student in search of a doctoral
dissertation topic and with the brashness of youth asked him if I
could follow him around the country."
     Hoffa agreed, and for the next several months, Sloane became a
"full-time Hoffa watcher."
     Hoffa left a deep impression on Sloane, one that was never to
leave him.
     For the next nearly 30 years, Sloane followed Hoffa's career and
in 1988, when a University of Delaware student reminded him what a
fascinating personality Hoffa was, Sloane decided to put everything
else aside and become Hoffa's biographer.
     Sloane's book gives a rich and colorful account of one of the
most influential figures in American labor.  It details Hoffa's
childhood, the tactics he used to gain control over the largest labor
union in American history, his associates, the devotion of the
truckers for whom he won benefits, his dealings with the Mafia, his
problems with the law, his disappearance and three versions of his
     Sloane is also co-author of Labor Relations.
                                        --Barbara Garrison