“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.
“When first published in the 1970s, Vivian Gornick’s book helped to launch her distinguished career as a writer and humanized, explained and, yes, romanticized, a generation of American radicals … Thanks to the dysfunctionality of American capitalism, socialism has reentered the American political vocabulary. Gornick introduces us to a slice of history we need to know.”
“Gornick’s language is so fresh and so blunt; it’s a quintessentially American voice, and a beautiful one.”