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Max Shachtman and His Left (Revolutionary Studies) Hardcover – November 1, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-1573923415 ISBN-10: 1573923419

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Hardcover, November 1, 1993
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Product Details

  • Series: Revolutionary Studies
  • Hardcover: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Humanity Books (November 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573923419
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573923415
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,648,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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"Drucker's biography is useful and suggestive as a first full-length study of an important figure."

—Labour/Le Travail

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By Ashtar Command on November 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Max Schachtman was a dissident revolutionary Trotskyist who eventually became a Social Democrat and ended up supporting the American side in the Cold War. Peter Drucker is a supporter of the “Mandelite” wing of the Trotskyist Fourth International, and the editor of a magazine published by Solidarity, a broad left organization regrouping many “left-Schachtmanites” (admirers of Schachtman before he turned to the right). Drucker's book seems to be the only book-length study of “Max”, the bête noire of the American left. Still today, “Schachtmanite” is a term of opprobrium among Trotskyists (compare how Stalinists use the term “Trotskyite”).

Intriguing personalities such as Hal Draper, James Burnham, Michael Harrington, Irving Kristol and (surprise) Leon Trotsky make guest appearences in “Max Schachtman and his left”, but overall, this is not an exciting biography or who's who on the left. The book is very dense and repetitive, and deals with theoretical issues and nuances probably of interest only to those concerned, i.e. Trotskyists and Schachtmanites. The author has interspersed his own, “Mandelite” analyses at suitable points in the text.

But then, this heaviness is inevitable, given the fact that Schachtman seems to have been a very dogmatic thinker even when he veered to the right, joining the reformist Socialist Party and the “bourgeois” Democratic Party. Until his very death, Schachtman saw himself as a socialist and Marxist, despite supporting the U.S. war in Vietnam at a time when even his erstwhile Cold War allies (including anti-Comunist union leader Walter Reuther) were turning against it. With a few exceptions, good ol' Max seems to have broken off personal relations with pretty much everyone who challenged him politically!
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