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Political Repression in Modern America: FROM 1870 TO 1976 Paperback – April 23, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1 edition (April 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252069641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252069642
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,238,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Today, as politicians across the spectrum attempt to shred our rights in the name of 'security,' Goldstein's book is an excellent resource, showing how calls for 'security' in the United States have historically provided cover for crackdowns on dissent." -- Eric Ruder, Internationalist Socialist Review ADVANCE PRAISE "[Goldstein's] book is the most comprehensive study we have of political repression. Students of liberty -- and its precarious status in our society -- now have the full historical record for the modern era before them." -- Jerold S. Auerbach, The Progressive "The valid work that has been done [by scholars] on radicals and repression has remained in fragments, waiting for someone to piece together a comprehensive analysis of this fugitive material. Robert J. Goldstein has now performed this job... an important contribution--an immense, informative and skillful interpretation of a vast, relatively unknown terrain." -- William Preston Jr., The Nation "Recurring outbreaks of political repression have been an unfortunate side of American democracy throughout the nation's history. Goldstein's systematic, clear and thoughtful history of this appalling phenomeon should be a warning against complacency." -- Frank Freidel, author of Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Rendezvous With Destiny

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Douglas S. Wood on May 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book provides a great detailed resource of past political repression. Wonderful reference for a research paper. Unfortunately, in light of current events we need an update!

In Goldstein's view, poltical repression hasn't just happened once in awhile or been of only marginal importance. Instead, "Political repression contributed significantly to the failure of the labor movement as a whole to achieve major power until the 1930s, the destruction of radical labor movements, the destruction of radical political movements, and the continuing self-censorship which Americans have imposed upon their own exercise of basic political freedoms."
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. bailey on April 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
How the U.S. tramples dissent

Review by Eric Ruder | December 14, 2001 | Page 9

The official purpose of President Woodrow Wilson's American Protective League (APL)--with 350,000 agents by the end of the First World War--was to help the government with food rationing, setting up draft offices and investigating the loyalty of Americans who wished to travel abroad.

In reality, the APL--established in 1917--"quickly became a largely out-of-control quasi-governmental, quasi-vigilante agency which established a massive spy network across the land," writes Goldstein.

APL agents bugged, infiltrated, disrupted and attacked radical organizations and union meetings. Not surprisingly, as Goldstein points out, "[t]he head of the APL urged his chief lieutenants to obtain financial support from leading businessmen `who usually are the ones benefited in a property sense by the protection afforded by our organization.'"

But the APL was just a warm-up for the Palmer raids--named after Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer--which, beginning in late 1919, led to the roundup of thousands of immigrants and the forced deportation of hundreds on the grounds that they were "communists."

Palmer laid the groundwork by stoking panic and racist fears of "alien filth." Like U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft today, Palmer issued warnings of violent attacks against the government--which never materialized.

The Palmer raids happened in the midst of massive strikes in the steel and coal industries and meant that thousands of strikers were arrested on minor charges, such as laughing at police. In the end, they targeted the remnants of the Industrial Workers of the World and the newly founded Communist Party (CP).
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