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A Red Family: Junius, Gladys, and Barbara Scales Hardcover – January 29, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (January 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252033965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252033964
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,873,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book fascinates by entwining personal history with wider US history; the interviews evoke the atmosphere of racism in the South and the frightening isolation caused by the McCarthy witchhunts but also the warmth of comradeship and the persistence of their vision of a better world.”--Socialist Review


 

"A welcome addition to the literature on southern radicalism."--Journal of Southern History


 

"A powerful reminder of the sacrifices made to make racial and labor justice a reality."--People's Weekly World

Book Description

One of the few publicly known communists in the South, Junius Scales organized textile workers, fought segregation, and was the only American to be imprisoned under the membership clause of the Smith Act during the McCarthy years. This compact collective memoir, built on three interconnected oral histories and including a historical essay by Gail O'Brien, covers Scales's organizing activities and work against racism in the South, his progressive disillusionment with Party bureaucracy and dogmatic rigidity, his persecution and imprisonment, as well as his family's radicalism and response to FBI hounding and blacklisting.
 

Through the distinct perspectives of Junius, his wife Gladys, and his daughter Barbara, this book deepens and personalizes the story of American radicalism. Conversational, intimate, and exceptionally accessible, A Red Family offers a unique look at the American communist experience from the inside out.
 

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ernesto Aguilar on April 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The 2002 death of former Communist Party activist and longtime civil rights/labor activist Junius Scales concluded one of America's most distinctive lives. Convicted of a felony in the 1950s solely for his party membership, Scales appealed his case to the Supreme Court, where the ruling was upheld. He began serving a six-year prison term in 1961, but had his sentence commuted by President John F. Kennedy amid appeals by prominent citizens. His case was turned into a play, The Limits of Dissent, in 1976.

More than a sensational case, the life of Junius Scales was one where a passion for a better country frequently put a young man from a privileged Deep South background regularly in harm's way. In A Red Family, Scales' life is examined through his own eyes as well as through the words of his wife Gladys and daughter Barbara. The result is an intimate book offering a look at a family richly defined by social justice struggles, especially the civil rights movement.

A Red Family follows the trajectory of Junius' Communist years, including grassroots work he did in the South at a time when the Ku Klux Klan was rampaging in many areas, and local as well as federal officials were impotent at best and actively collaborating at worst. Harassment, arrests and campaign rigors -- Scales lived underground for various stretches of time, despite occasional disagreements with Party leadership over the strategy -- might have steeled his resolve, but all the hardships the family faced took their toll. Nevertheless Junius and Gladys Scales together refused to be broken in their commitment.

In these times, when words like "socialist" are hurled like daggers, A Red Family is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made to make racial and labor justice a reality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Scales on March 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is about my parents and myself. It includes an afterword which the publisher asked me to write. I can not tell you whether it is good or bas but I do hope that it will be read. In addition, I would recommend the book over which Junius Scales laboured for many years: Cause At Heart: A Former Communist Remembers. He wrote this book with his life-long friend, the poet, Richard Nickson. It tells the story of his devotion to ideals, which led him to a movement and out of the movement. The ideals trumped the Communist Party but the Party itself had something to offer which is oft-neglected in the denunciations of the rabid anti-Communism of the powerful who feared it. The personal values of Junius Scales, however trump the platform of the American Communist Party as well as the anti-communist mania embodied int he person and the power of J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover is not a character in these books. He is, however, a presence in the events which befall the central figure.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An engaging account of a family committed to the values of equality, fairness and justice in the mid 20th century in the United States.. While their tireless efforts were met with resistence from their more powerful opponents, their unrelenting determinination to fignt for common people is a true testament to their love for all of humanity and their belief that we have the power to organize and make positve change This book is important for those who too are committed to such values in the 21st century.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enjoyed reading about Junius Scales and family very much. Gives a good feeling for the times in which they lived.
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More About the Author


Mickey Friedman is a writer and filmmaker. His "A Red Family," an oral history of an American Communist family, was published by the University of Illinois Press. Learn more at: aredfamily.com. You can see his films at mickeyfriedman.com. His twice a month newspaper columns about life in the best small town in America can be found at redcrownews.com.

His recent mystery novel, Danger Times Two, is a story of two women: one with amnesia; the other with the I Ching. Danger Times Two is a story of three families, unwittingly intertwined and in danger. I made a deal. Every time it was appropriate, I as the character would actually consult the I Ching: Katie or Sarah or Frank asking the question. And all of us bound to accept the answer.So this, then, is a collaboration: part Mickey Friedman, part I Ching.

Danger Times Two is the first in a planned series of I Ching Mysteries.

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