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The Romance of American Communism by Vivian Gornick

The Romance of American Communism

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The Romance of American Communism by Vivian Gornick
Paperback $19.95
Apr 07, 2020 | ISBN 9781788735506

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“The best book ever written on the inner life of socialists.”
—Corey Robin, New York Magazine

“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.”
—Eric Foner, author of Battles for Freedom

“Gornick’s language is so fresh and so blunt; it’s a quintessentially American voice, and a beautiful one.”
—Dwight Garner, New York Times

“I first read The Romance of American Communism in the early eighties, and it has been for many years the book I would rescue if my house was burning down. I based the the narrator of my first novel, The Cast Iron Shore, on the character of ‘Diane Michaels,’ a vain shallow woman for whom communism had made her better than she was—‘it could all have been so much worse.’ Vivian Gornick explores the passion of ideas rather than the ideas themselves, how they make us human. This book has languished out of print for far too long.”
—Linda Grant, author of A Stranger City

“A profound guide to the ecstasy and despair of living a life structured by political commitment. These accounts of ordinary Communists will make you ache for such a coherent and purposeful world, even as Gornick shows with enormous sensitivity how it all fell apart. In our new era of political intensity, everyone should have this subtle and exquisite book on hand.”
—Sarah Leonard

“Her unrepentant belief in strong feeling as the heartbeat of any political approach to the world explains why, though many good histories of American communism have appeared since Romance, none have captured, elevated, and lit up the experience in quite the same way.”
—Lana Dee Povitz, Los Angeles Review of Books

“[Gornick] presents her interview subjects like characters in literature, as the protagonists of their own experience, and, for that reason, the book is not simply documentary but a work of literature, too, rich, moving, and contradictory.”
—Alexandra Schwartz, New Yorker

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