File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-01-29.113, message 53

Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 12:13:01 -0500
Subject: M-I: histories of US communism

        There's three very good local/specific studies I learnt a lot from:

Roger Keeran - The Communist Party and the auto workers' unions
(International Publishers, New York) which cover the late 1920s up to 1949.

Mark Naison - Communists in Harlem during the depression (publication
details I'm not certain of - originally published by Grove Press but it has
been taken over by another publisher. The ISBN, if that helps in tracking
it down is 0-8021-5183-3.) This is a fascinating study of the CP's
organisation in Harlem, and although Naison is a fan of the Popular Front,
he shows how it weakened the CP's growth among black workers.

Robin Kelley - Hammer and hoe: Alabama Communists during the great
depression (University of North Carolina) Again, a great local study which
gives a real feel for the CP on the ground.

        Monthly Review recently published a volume entitled New studies in
the politics and culture of American Communism (editors Brown et al - sorry
I don't have the full details) which is a conspectus of current research
into the CP from various local/sectional angles. I found it a bit
disappointing, but it does have a very extensive bibliograpy.

        The James Cannon book which Scott McLemee recommended was written
after cannon had corresponded extensively with Theodore Draper while he was
writing The roots of American Communism (Ivan R Dee, Chicago - quite
possibly out of print). Draper's book is not sympathetic, but it's well

        Volumes 8-10 of Philip S Foner's History of the labor movement in
the United States cover the CP's early history up till 1929. Foner's not
the most readable of writers, but there's a wealth of detail in the books.
        What I don't know of is a good one-volume history of the CP, or
anything on the post-1950s history. Any recommendations? Also, does anyone
knows of more local/sectional studies like the ones above?

Charlie Hore, Bookmarks Bookshop   

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