The Romance of American Communism

The Romance of American Communism

by Vivian Gornick
The Romance of American Communism

The Romance of American Communism

by Vivian Gornick


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Writer and critic Vivian Gornick’s long-unavailable classic exploring how Left politics gave depth and meaning to American life

“Before I knew that I was Jewish or a girl I knew that I was a member of the working class.”

So begins Vivian Gornick’s exploration of how the world of socialists, communists, and progressives in the 1940s and 1950s created a rich, diverse world where ordinary men and women felt their lives connected to a larger human project.

Now back in print after its initial publication in 1977 and with a new introduction by the author, The Romance of American Communism is a landmark work of new journalism, profiling American Communist Party members and fellow travelers as they joined the Party, lived within its orbit, and left in disillusionment and disappointment as Stalin’s crimes became public.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781788735506
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 04/07/2020
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 395,353
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Vivian Gornick is a writer and critic whose work has received two National Book Critics Circle Award nominations and been collected in The Best American Essays 2014. Growing up in the Bronx amongst communists and socialists, Gornick became a legendary writer for Village Voice, chronicling the emergence of the feminist movement in the 1970s. Her works include the memoirs Fierce Attachments (1987) and The Odd Woman and the City (2015) and the classic text on writing, The Situation and the Story.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xv

Chapter 1 To Begin With 3

Chapter 2 They Came from Everywhere: All Kinds of Beginnings 28

The Jewish Marxists Sarah Gordon Ben Saltzman Selma Gardinsky Joe Preisen Belle Rothman Paul Levinson 30

The Dos Passos Immigrants Dick Nikowsski 59

The American Populists Will Barnes Blossom Sheed Jim Holbrook 66

Those of the Middle Kingdom Mason Goode Arthur Chessler Marian Moron Diana Michaels 85

Chapter 3 Living It Out: From Vision to Dogma and Halfway Back 107

The Ordinariness of Daily Activity and the Revolution Around the Corner Sarah Gordon Selma Gardinsky Blossom Sheed 109

The Wholeness of the CP World Dina Shapiro Arthur Chessler Norma Raymond Eric Lanzetti 112

The Party Unionist Maggie McConnell 125

Ambivalence: Beneath the "Wholeness" Disintegrating Conflict Esther Allen Mason Goode Lou Goodstein 130

Going into Industry Karl Millens Maurey Sachman 145

The Underground Nettie Posin Hugh Armstrong Bill Chaikin 158

What We Did to Each Other Sam Russell Sophie Chessler Tim Kelley 169

The Lure of the Disciplined Revolutionary Party Larry Dougherty Ricardo Garcia 182

Chapter 4 They Went Back into Everywhere: Varieties of Aftermath 190

Politics Without the Party Is Unthinkable Jerome Rindzer Grace Lange David Ross 193

The Anti-Communist Communist Max Bitterman 203

The Wounds of the Past Arnold Bea Richman 214

"I Lost More Than I Got" Morris Silverman Carl Peters Dave Abetta 219

"Communism Was Part of the Journey" Diane Vinson 227

"It Was the Best Life a Man Could Have Had" Anthony Ehrenpreis 234

The Political Emotion Embodied Boris Edel 242

"I'll Tell You What a Communist Is" Eric Lanzetti 248

Chapter 5 To End With 256

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