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Legacy of Dissent: Forty Years of Writing from Dissent Magazine

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Dissent is a magazine for people who know how to worry,'' declares magazine coeditor Walzer, and indeed, its democratic socialism has long eschewed mountaintop certainty for stubborn engagement. Mills (editor of Arguing Immigration) has organized the 31 meaty essays by seven themes. The section on ``Social Vision'' sometimes has an air of quaintness, but even back in 1954, Dissent founder Irving Howe warned (with Lewis Coser) that ``noneconomic motives can lead to human troubles.'' Political essayists William Julius Wilson on the ``truly disadvantaged'' and Todd Gitlin on identity politics show insight, not dogma. Two still-famous essays, Norman Mailer's ``The White Negro'' and Paul Goodman's ``Growing Up Absurd,'' anchor the ``Culture and Society'' section, but more recent efforts by Paul Berman and Marshall Berman stand up well. Contributors like Cornel West, Jean L. Cohen and Andrei Sinyavsky animate sections on ``Race,'' ``Feminism'' and ``The Cold War and After.'' The three entries on labor-Mills on a 1967 grape strike, Robert B. Reich on the (still unmet) need for ``higher-valued production'' and David Brody on the resurgence of anti-unionism-hint at an issue too often ignored in current political discourse. Before his death in 1993, Howe left the book's closing essay, which wisely advised his readers: don't despair, think long-term. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Since 1954, Dissent has belied the myth of a monolithic, dogmatic Left with fine writing by leading thinkers. What's remarkable about this collection is not just the scope of the essays but their frequent prescience. While some seem dated, most reinforce the "real" aims of social democracy: freedom, justice, and a decent life for all. Writers include founder Irving Howe, Michael Harrington, Ignazio Silone, Robert B. Reich, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Gnter Grass. Roy Medvedev's critique of Solzhenitsyn is especially valuable, and Erazim V. Khk's 1969 "Requiem for Utopia" is a clear-headed analysis of the failed Prague Spring. The section on race (led by Richard Wright's "White Man-Listen!") and feminism (featuring Cynthia Fuchs Epstein's 1975 "Perspectives on the Women's Movement") are probably the best. For those who feared the demise of the intellectual Left or who want perspective, these essays are essential. Academic libraries should purchase, as should other libraries with strong social sciences collections.-Donna L. Cole, Leeds P.L., Ala.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671888794
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 12/28/1994
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 15
Introduction 17
Images of Socialism 29
The Choice of Comrades 49
Roots of the Socialist Dilemma 63
Markets and Plans 77
A Day in the Life of a Socialist Citizen 105
A Cheer for the Constitution 113
American Social Policy and the Ghetto Underclass 117
Rooted Cosmopolitanism 131
The Rise of "Identity Politics" 141
The White Negro 153
Growing Up Absurd 175
Literary Radicalism in America 195
With the Lower Depths 211
Children of the Future 219
White Man - Listen! 229
From a Harlem School 237
The New Black Intellectuals 249
Blackness without Blood 259
Nihilism in Black America 277
Perspectives on the Women's Movement 289
A Gender Diary 303
About Women and Rights 333
Diary from the Grape Strike 343
Human Capital and Economic Policy 353
The Breakdown of Labor's Social Contract 371
Requiem for Utopia 389
Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago 403
Dissent as a Personal Experience 415
To Cave Explorers from the West 431
On Loss: The Condition of Germany 439
Two Cheers for Utopia 459
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