File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-01-29.113, message 33


Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 18:29:38 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: M-I: histories of US communism


On Mon, 27 Jan 1997, Doug Henwood wrote:

> What would folks recommend as good histories of U.S. Communism, both
> broadly defined and about the CP?
> 

THE FIRST TEN YEARS OF AMERICAN COMMUNISM by James P. Cannon is 
indispensible.  Cannon was part of the original SP left wing, and his 
recollections (the book is subtitled "Report of a Participant") were 
solicited by Theodore Draper when the historian was at work on his two 
books on CP history; however, Cannon's articles and letters can be read 
with profit by those who have never touched Draper (or have, and found 
plenty to argue with).  Also of considerable interest is JAMES P. CANNON 
AND THE EARLY YEARS OF AMERICAN COMMUNISM:  SELECTED WRITINGS AND 
SPEECHES, 1920-28, assembled by the Spartacist League.  Precious little 
scholarship has been done, to my knowledge at least, on the wild and 
woolly early years of the CP; at least not much has reached print.  The 
two volumes in question are thus of great significance for any student of 
the American left, and not just for those with an interest in American 
Trotskyism. 


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