Whatever Happened to the American Left?

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

SOMETIMES, attention should be paid to the absence of news. America’s economic miseries continue, with unemployment still high and home sales stagnant or dropping. The gap between the wealthiest Americans and their fellow citizens is wider than it has been since the 1920s. And yet, except for the demonstrations and energetic recall campaigns that roiled Wisconsin this year, unionists and other stern critics of corporate power and government cutbacks have failed to organize a serious Read More »

Michael Kazin on Roots of the Occupy Movement

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

Interview by Eve Gerber at The Browser As police confront Occupy protesters, the history professor and co-editor of Dissent magazine looks back at US leftist movements from abolitionism to Vietnam to see where OWS came from and what it can learn from the past As the Occupy Wall Street movement writes a new chapter in the history of American leftism, you’ve published a history of radical movements in the United States titled American Dreamers. Tell me about Read More »

Change the Public’s Thinking

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

The protests that began on Wall Street and are spreading to dozens of American cities have been a long time in coming. Since the 1970s, economic inequality in the United States has increased, as unions declined and changes in the tax code benefited the rich. Even Alan Greenspan recognized, in 2005, “this is not the type of thing which a democratic society – a capitalist democratic society – can really accept without addressing.” However, until Read More »

The Port Huron Statement at 50

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

Por tHuron Statement

The Port Huron Statement of Students for a Democratic Society, written fifty years ago this June, is the most ambitious, the most specific, and the most eloquent manifesto in the history of the American Left. It is also, at just over 25,000 words, undoubtedly the longest one. But it had to be lengthy to accomplish its aim—to propose an entire “agenda for a generation.” Consider the variety of topics about which Tom Hayden and his Read More »

Barons of Labor: The San Francisco Building Trades and Union Power in the Progressive Era

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

“Kazin’s book is about far more than the construction industry: it also illuminates the social and political history of San Francisco… Gracefully written and adorned with evocative portraits of local political and labor leaders, Barons of Labor is absorbing reading as well as a fine piece of history.” From The Nation “A bold and pioneering work that revises our understanding of skilled craftsmen and the politics of class in the Progressive Era.” From the Journal of American History Read More »

The Populist Persuasion: An American History

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

If populism now seems “something of a fashion statement,” Kazin (Barons of Labor) ably reveals its rich and textured history. Activists from varied backgrounds have sought to invoke and speak to the masses since the late-19th-century People’s Party mobilized agrarians and artisans. Kazin chronicles the place of populism in the labor and socialist movements of the Progressive era, prohibitionism and the crusades of radio cleric Charles Coughlin. After WWII, populism switched from left to right: Read More »

A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

In American memory, the image of William Jennings Bryan, whom the Democrats nominated for President in 1896, 1900, and 1908, has been obscured by the pathetic, evolution-bashing Bible-thumper based on him in “Inherit the Wind.” And yet from the “Cross of Gold” speech, which stunned the 1896 Convention, until his death, three decades later, Bryan was a hero to populists, an advocate of prohibition and women’s suffrage, and a truer Wilsonian than Wilson, whom he Read More »

America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

Isserman (If I Had a Hammer) and Kazin (The Populist Persuasion) are two of the keenest practitioners of the history of American people’s politics. Both came of age in the 1960s, and each has a genetic link, respectively, to the Old Left and the grand liberal tradition of the 1930s. No better-suited collaborators could join to offer a history of the American Sixties. But while the book they offer is commendably balanced, the authors have Read More »

The Concise Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

Praise for The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History, One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2010: “Encyclopedias are both invitations to explore and tools to find particular information. The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History amply fulfills both of those functions. . . . Many of the contributing historians, journalists, and social scientists are those whose opinions academics seek and cite. . . . An important source for researchers at all levels. Also read: American Dreamers

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

Posted in Home on November 25, 2020

amercan dreamers cover

“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, Read More »