A panoramic yet intimate history of the American left—of the reformers, radicals, and idealists who have fought for a more just and humane society, from the abolitionists to Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky—that gives us a revelatory new way of looking at two centuries … More »
A panoramic yet intimate history of the American left—of the reformers, radicals, and idealists who have fought for a more just and humane society, from the abolitionists to Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky—that gives us a revelatory new way of looking at two centuries of American politics and culture.
Michael Kazin—one of the most respected historians of the American left working today—takes us from abolitionism and early feminism to the labor struggles of the industrial age, through the emergence of anarchists, socialists, and communists, right up to the New Left in the 1960s and ’70s. While the history of the left is a long story of idealism and determination, it has also been, in the traditional view, a story of movements that failed to gain support from mainstream America. In American Dreamers, Kazin tells a new history: one in which many of these movements, although they did not fully succeed on their own terms, nonetheless made lasting contributions to American society that led to equal opportunity for women, racial minorities, and homosexuals; the celebration of sexual pleasure; multiculturalism in the media and the schools; and the popularity of books and films with altruistic and antiauthoritarian messages.
Deeply informed, at once judicious and impassioned, and superbly written, American Dreamers is an essential book for our times and for anyone seeking to understand our political history and the people who made it.
Baker & Taylor
A panoramic history of liberal politics in America analyzes the impact of major movements throughout the past two centuries, from abolitionism and industrial-age labor disputes to the civil-rights movement and the emergence of alternative political groups.
In this account of the American Left from the 1820s through 2010, Kazin (history, Georgetown U.) clashes with the traditional view of the American Left as a failure and asserts that left-leaning radicals and reformers helped make the US a more humane society, paving the way for equal opportunity for women and minorities, celebration of diversity and sexuality, and anti-authoritarian attitudes. The book begins with a look at the goals and successes of the abolitionists, the women's suffrage movement, and the growth of socialist colonies, then covers labor organizers. Three factions of socialist movements of the 20th century are described, and the paradox of American Communism is examined. Kazin is co-editor of Dissent. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A panoramic history of liberal politics in America by a forefront historian and author of
Freedom songs, 1820s-1840s -- The half-way revolution, 1840s-1870s -- The salvation of labor, 1870s-1890s -- A tale of three socialisms, 1890s-1920s -- The paradox of American communism, 1920s-1950s -- Not with my life, you don't, 1950s-1980s -- Rebels without a movement, 1980s-2010
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