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Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (Working Class in American History) Paperback – March 15, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0252074523 ISBN-10: 0252074521 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Working Class in American History
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 2nd edition (March 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252074521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252074523
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This is biography at its best."
--Eric Foner for the History Book Club


"In this stunning book, Salvatore sets Debs firmly within the central traditions of United States political and social history and depicts, as never before, the triumph and tragedy that characterized the socialist leader's personal and public life."
--American Historical Review



"Nick Salvatore's biography is very solid work. . . . The Debs who emerges is a flawed human being--very flawed--yet an extraordinary person: a man deficient in self-knowledge, as public figures usually are, but also a great tribune."
--
New York Review of Books

About the Author

Nick Salvatore is Maurice and Hinda Neufeld Founders Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and a professor of American studies at Cornell University. He is the author of We All Got History: The Memory Books of Amos Webber and oher books. See www.nicksalvatore.com for more information.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By america at work on April 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist" shows Eugene Deb's impact on American labor unions and the Socialist movement in America from the 1880s until his death in 1926, tracing his rise from a lowly locomotive paint-scraper to the five-time Socialist Party's presidential candidate. This "native son" combined his American values with socialism to battle against large corporations for "the working man." The author highlights the importance of Debs in American labor history, the complex life that Debs lived, and the journey that took him from democrat and trade unionist to socialist and industrial unionist.
The book is divided into four main sections. The first discusses early life in his home town of Terre Haute, a microcosm of working class towns throughout America. Here he became involved with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, and grew critical of industrial capitalism.
In the second section Debs took part in the Pullman strike and was sentenced to federal prison, where he spent much of his time reading, discussing, and learning about socialism. Upon his release from jail he helped found the forerunner to the Socialist Party of America.
In the third section Debs ran for president five times, the number of votes increasing with each campaign. The section also discusses Debs' greater acceptance of African Americans and women in his ideas for a socialist economy.
The final section sums up Debs' life. Sent to prison again, he ran for president for a fifth time from jail, winning 913,693 votes, the most ever for a Socialist Party candidate and the most votes of his career.
Debs was an impassioned human who fought for what he truly believed in. One issue was the book left me with some questions. What was the American consensus on Debs at this time?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Maya Cook on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
Why is this book so widely lauded? Sure, in some places it's quite insightful, but in others it seems to revise for revision's sake. In checking Salvatore's primary sources, some turn out to be quite vague, revealing what seem to me to be somewhat dubious conjecture in order to turn this or that assumption (especially regarding his early years) on its head, in favor of a more hypocritical portrait of Debs. Admittedly, I'm only an undergrad historian, so perhaps I'm merely not far enough along in my studies to grasp the nuances, but I have found that in doing my own research, I cannot rely on Salvatore's interpretations of Debs any more than I can the overly adulatory biopics of his predecessors. A frustrating situation, but hopefully useful in my development as a historian.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By paul on June 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Debs, an American hero. Yet, his impact on American history is largely ignored in the mainstream. Salvatore presents the man as he was, ideas, actions, strengths and weaknesses. Any lover of American history and social justice will cherish this book.
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