At a moment when labor history risks becoming an elegy for dashed hopes, I wish to tell a cautionary tale of missed opportunities and to counsel an alteration in intellectual focus. Not just a profound shift in the political climate, East and West, but a sustained assault on the operational premises of our craft from within has raised issues more challenging than those encompassed by the usual range of inquiries devoted to improving methods, incorporating neglected topics, and critiquing extant literatures.Not surprisingly, there has been a burst of historiographical stock-takings of late. When fields are in trouble, their practitioners are tempted to become planners. I fully agree with William Sewell's orienting judgment (in one of the most thoughtful of these recent considerations) that labor history cannot be judged to be in a state of scholarly crisis, even if the field has lost its unitary theoretical grounding. After all, assessed by the standards of the craft of history, more excellent work is being done now than ever before. Read as an empirical genre, irrespective of trends in the world or normative commitments, labor history has never been better, more diverse, or asrichly textured. Impressively, it is the site of important epistemological debates. Further, labor history has extended its domain to include subjects such as drink, crime, leisure, sexuality, and the family it once either ignored or relegated to the periphery of its concerns. Like Sewell, however, I am struck by labor history's loss of élan, directionality, and intellectual purpose. Engaged history, in possession at least of the conceit of making a difference, has moved elsewhere, to other subject areas.