Defining socialism as the natural progeny of Jeffersonian
egalitarianism whose soul was maimed by the Bolshevik revolution
and its aftermath, the editor has stuffed religious and secular
communitarian tracts together with early socialist, Socialist Party
and IWW writings into an anthology covering the period 1808 - 1919.
Four of nine chapters present visions of nineteenth-century
agrarian micro-utopias, many of which were never implemented. The
latter half offers categorically socialist writings. Among the most
interesting are the debate between the American S.P.'s left wing
and the Hillquit-Berger leadership. The speeches by Debs, Louis
Fraina, Bill Haywood and Upton Sinclair make excellent period
pieces and political testaments. The editor evinces a strong
anti-radical bias, characterizing the S.P. as "moderate and
constructive" and the militant I.W.W. as a miniscule ragtag bunch
of bomb-throwers. As a pedagogical ancillary, the book
insufficiently explains the historical context of each reading;
Kipnis' The American Socialist Movement 1897 - 1912 (1952) is
better for the material covered, and Tyler's Freedom's Ferment
(1944) offers a greater understanding of communitarianism. As a
documentary collection, it's only novel contribution is some
out-of-print Christian Socialist selections. As a thematic
anthology, its original juxtapositions are rather on the order of a
peanut-butter-and-artichoke casserole, while its conception of
"socialism" exceeds the bounds of permissible tendentiousness in
such matters. Fried is co-editor of an anthology of European
socialist writings. (Kirkus Reviews)
Socialism in America is a thematic presentation of the various
types of socialism, such as Communitarian, Christian, Marxist and
Anarcho-Communist, that have existed in the United States from the
time of the Revolutionary War to 1919. The documents included in
this text demonstrate how socialism was an integral part of the
American past: because its ideals were embedded in the birth of
America, it authentically expressed the American egalitarian norm.
These documents demonstrate that each type of socialism has a
counterpart in a broadly based contemporary social movement. For
example, religious communities were linked to revivalism and
millenarianism. Ultimately, the collapse of socialism in America is
tied to the country's conservative mood in the 1890s and World War
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