American Dreamers: Paperback version is just out — with a section on Occupy Wall Street.

By Michael Kazin

American Dreamers

“One of the Best Books of the Year”

Newsweek/The Daily Beast

The New Republic

The Progressive

 

 

 

 

“Illuminating. . . . Kazin’s ambition is to illustrate and argue, and he does both with exemplary skill. . . . A work of honest rigor. . . . Kazin understands the limitations of the left, its self-destructive divisions, its difficulty in establishing an American presence within an international movement. . . . It is, to say the least, timely.”
Los Angeles Times

“Robust. . . . A lively, panoramic account.”
The Washington Post

“A heartfelt and searingly honest assessment of the history of the social movements and individuals who challenged the established order of their day.”
The Nation

“Compendious and erudite. . . . For the political junkie as well as those simply curious about the saga of the left, his book is helpfully crammed with numerous informative portraits of famous as well as more neglected figures. . . . A careful and nuanced view of the saga of the American left.”
The Washington Monthly

American Dreamers is Kazin’s bid to reclaim the left’s utopian spirit for an age of diminished expectations. An editor at Dissent magazine and one of the left’s most eloquent spokesmen, Kazin presents his book as an unapologetic attempt to give the left a history it can celebrate. . . . American Dreamers is not a prescriptive book, offering instructions based on the past. Lessons nonetheless have a way of creeping into its text.”
The New York Times

“Kazin, a distinguished historian, provides an entertaining journey through some of the fascinating byways of American radicalism. . . . His writing is fluid, avoids professional jargon, and is often witty. Unlike many of his colleagues in history, with whom he shares a left-wing orientation, Kazin is fair to conservative critics of radicalism.”
National Review

“Kazin, a history professor at Georgetown University and an editor at Dissent magazine, tells this story clearly and with some muscle in his prose. He’s not afraid to tarnish the halos of social democracy’s secular saints.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Kazin argues, in this lively and informative account of radicalism in the United States, American dreamers had a substantial impact on culture, society and politics, expanding the meaning of equal opportunity, equal rights and personal liberty and pushing their fellow citizens to re-evaluate the nation’s role in the world.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“A spirited defense of the positive role played by left-wing radicals in shaping American society. . . .  A coherent, wide-ranging analysis of a century of political and social activism in America.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[A] perceptive history of the radical left . . .  a lively and lucid synthesis of a vital political tradition.”
Publishers Weekly

“Kazin, of Georgetown, is one of the great historians of American social movements, and though he is on the broad left, he has written sympathetically about figures not always associated with the left like William Jennings Bryan. This history deftly and honestly describes the victories and failures of the various left-wing movements in U.S. history and, even in a body of work as formidable as Kazin’s, really stands out for its erudition and intelligence.”
Newsweek/The Daily Beast

“A history of the American left that manages to be both sweeping in scope and granular in capturing the people, known and less so, who figured in abolitionism, feminism, and labor rights, among others. Kazin’s final assessment strikes a delicate balance, arguing that the left has succeeded in shaping the nation’s culture in ways that are not fully appreciated even as it has so often fallen short in its institutional aims, particularly when it comes to matters of economic justice and equality.”
The New Republic

Learn more

Reviews of American Dreamers

"Michael Kazin's American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation. Kazin, of Georgetown, is one of the great historians of American social movements, and though he is on the broad left, he has written sympathetically about figures not always associated with the left like William Jennings Bryan. This history deftly and honestly describes the victories and failures of the various left-wing movements in U.S. history and, even in a body of work as formidable as Kazin's, really stands out for its erudition and intelligence." Read more

– Newsweek

"'American Dreamers' is Kazin's bid to reclaim the left's utopian spirit for an age of diminished expectations. An editor at Dissent magazine and one of the left's most eloquent spokesmen, Kazin presents his book as an unapologetic attempt to give the left a history it can celebrate. For more than two centuries, he writes, American radicals have sounded the alarm about crucial injustices — slavery, industrial exploitation, women's oppression — that the rest of society refused to see. It is time for the left to stand up and take credit for these efforts." Read more

– Beverly Gage, New York Times Book Review

More reviews