Socialism and America

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Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985 - Political Science - 225 pages
Based on his own participation in the movement and on theoretical issues that have been debated since the turn of the century, Howe presents a searching review of American socialism--its past, present, and future. The essays deal with the promise of the Debs era (1912-1920), the disaster of 1936, when the socialist party broke with organized labor and opposed FDR's re-election, the formation of the popular front with the Communist Party in the late thirties, and why socialism failed. Surveying the movement he has known first-hand since 1930, Howe takes the state-centered political structure as it is and tries to work through it to effect the economic and social changes he thinks socialism is about. He allows for the particular historical constraints under which socialists of the past acted, hopes for a reconciliation of liberalism and democratic socialism, and weighs the chances for the survival of socialism as a living ideal. ISBN 0-15-183575-6 : $17.95.

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Socialists in the Thirties
A Note on Browderism
Why Has Socialism Failed in America?

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About the author (1985)

Irving Howe was born in the Bronx, New York on June 11, 1920. He became a socialist at the age of 14. He graduated from City College in 1940. During World War II, he served in the Army. After the war, he began writing book reviews and essays for several magazines including Commentary, The Nation, and Partisan Review. For four years, he earned a living writing book reviews for Time magazine. He taught English at several colleges including Brandeis University, Stanford University, Hunter College, and City University, which he retired from in 1986. In 1954, he and a group of close friends founded the radical journal Dissent. He was the editor for nearly four decades. Also in the 1950's, he met a Yiddish poet named Eliezer Greenberg and the two began a long project to translate Yiddish prose and poetry into English, eventually publishing six collections of stories, essays, and poems. He wrote several books including Decline of the New, Politics and the Novel, and an autobiography entitled A Margin of Hope. World of Our Fathers won the National Book Award in 1976. He wrote critical studies of William Faulkner and Sherwood Anderson and a biography of Leon Trotsky. He died of cardiovascular disease on May 5, 1993 at the age of 72.

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