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The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves' Civil War
The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves' Civil War
by David S. Cecelski
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.48
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5.0 out of 5 stars Abraham Galloway biography provides truer picture of Civil War, September 6, 2014
by: Beatrice Lumpkin,
On September 1, 1870, at the age of 33, Abraham Galloway died unexpectedly. Just before his death, he had escaped two assassination attempts. He had surely lived a very vigorous life up to the day before he died. The cause of death is not known. Although he died broke, 7,000 people came to his funeral in Wilmington, N.C. His unrelenting fight for freedom continues to inspire us today.
The book, "The Fire of Freedom, Abraham Galloway & the Slaves' Civil War," opens with two guns held to the head of the Union Army recruiter. That was by order of Abraham Galloway, an African-American leader of the enslaved men who wanted to join the Union Army. Not until the recruiter meets their demands, does Galloway order the guns lowered and allow the recruiter to leave. The demands were: promise of equal pay for the new recruits, schools for their children, jobs for women and provisions for their families. Above all, was the demand that the Union Army would force the confederacy to treat captured soldiers as prisoners of war and not re-enslave or execute.
In turn, the recruiter left with Galloway's promise to recruit an entire African American regiment in just a few days. Five days later, 4,000 men, women and children marched into the Union Army camp in New Bern, North Carolina. The next day hundreds more came and a brigade was formed. Galloway was only 26 at the time.

A bricklayer by trade, Galloway had escaped from bondage at age 20 and made it all the way to safety in Canada. But he wanted more than safety for himself. Not only did he return to bring his mother to freedom, he became a leader of the abolition cause and built a network of freedom fighters deep in the Slave South.
Through the short life of Abraham Galloway, David Cecelski brings us a very different picture of the Civil War than is taught in most schools. I recommend "The Fire of Freedom" for the truer picture it presents. In his prologue, Cecelski credits "the great W.E.B. Du Bois", author of "Black Reconstruction" (1935), with showing the essential role of the slaves in winning the war. Their "General Strike" drained the strength of the Confederacy and they supplied 180,000 of the best Union Army volunteers. Over half of the African American Union soldiers were recruited from the South. But this analysis by Du Bois was pushed aside by racism and McCarthy-type red baiting. Fortunately, Cecelski tells us, "A new generation of scholars has begun to rediscover that powerful tradition of African American militancy within the Civil War South."

As a reviewer, I was struck by the advanced and modern tone of speeches by Abraham Galloway and other African American abolitionists. I should not have been surprised by the class-consciousness of their outlook. After all, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were among the widely read writers for the Tribune, founded by Horace Greeley in 1841. The rallying cry of "Workers of the World Unite!" had already appeared in the "Communist Manifesto" in 1848.

Galloway insisted, "The war would emancipate the poor white man of the south, as well as the blacks." He continued to fight for all working people after the Civil War. At the 1868 North Carolina Constitutional Convention, a newspaper quoted him as saying, "I came here to help the poor white man, as well as the colored man, and to do justice to all men." Cecelski points out that Galloway made this statement although he was one of only thirteen blacks out of 120 elected to the convention and felt a special responsibility to represent the political concerns of the states' African American population.

An even more pointed statement by John Mercer Langston shows the class-consciousness of many African American leaders of that time. At the 1864 National Convention of Colored Men of the United States, Langston called for delegates to "resist not only slavery but also the 'system of oligarchy' that led to civil war and that oppressed poor and working class people of all races."
[read more of this review on, August 8, 2014]

Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Wordsworth Classics)
Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Wordsworth Classics)
by Robert Tressell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.29
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists": Great socialist novel marks 100th anniversary,, September 6, 2014
"Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists": Great socialist novel marks 100th anniversary, by: Tom Pepper, August 22, 2914

In an era when most works of art are meant to leave us satisfied, glutted with special effects and violence and fantasy and sex, motivated only to buy the DVD or look forward to the sequel, such radical art seems hard to come by. So perhaps it is time to recall a great work of socialist literature from the past: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists, by Robert Tressell, published 100 years ago this year.

Tressell was the pen name of Robert Noonan, a British house painter and socialist who was born in Ireland in 1870 and died in England of tuberculosis in 1911 at the age of 41. The novel was published, with the help of his daughter, three years after his death, and has remained popular in England ever since, sometimes credited with helping promote the Labour Party in the United Kingdom.
Writing in the early part of the 20th century, Tressell describes the gradual decline in prosperity of the working class following the 1907 depression, a decline that seemed to have no end in sight, with each passing year seeing more men out of work, more families becoming homeless, and an increasingly difficult struggle to survive on sporadic work and multiple low-paying jobs. Tressell's novel is set in a time before computers and cell phones, when the automobile was new and uncommon. But the economic hardship faced by the working class following a financial crisis from which the rich "recovered" while workers were forced to accept lower wages and a diminished standard of living ... well, that sounds all too familiar, right?

Tressell seems to have written the novel in an attempt to solve the great problem that has always faced socialists: how do we overcome the power of capitalist ideology? Throughout the book, we hear Tressell's frustration, often given voice by the character Frank Owen, a socialist house painter who repeatedly attempts to convert his coworkers to his way of thinking. Late in the book, during a parliamentary election campaign, Owen once again faces despair: "They did not know the causes of their poverty, they did not want to know, they did not want to hear." The majority of the working men support the conservative Tory party, sure that this party will give them "plenty of work" by means of some rather obscure financial and tax reforms.

Despite his obvious frustration, Tressell rejects the cynical path taken by one socialist in the novel, who gets tired of being abused by those he is trying to help and turns to writing campaign speeches for the Tory party. For Tressell, the only hope for our children, for the future of the majority of the human race, is to keep working to produce a socialist party. This novel is one part of such work, and it attempts to combine two different approaches to achieve this end.
One part of the novel is a traditional melodrama reminiscent of many Victorian novels. We witness men out of work struggling to make the rent, buy food, and clothe their children; older workers sent to the workhouse and early death; and the wives of these working men putting in 14-hour days doing piecework sewing at home or cleaning houses, until several characters contemplate suicide as the only escape. The focus, in this part of the narrative, on the despair of the women and children is clearly meant to be motivational. The workers "do not want to know," and Tressell hopes, by showing them the awful effects of this lingering economic recession, to make them feel the need to know.

The other part of the novel, probably the bulk of the writing, consists of social and economic satire, meant to expose corruption and to explain the inherent injustice in "The System." Tressell tries, in multiple chapters, to find ways to explain the inherent contradictions of capitalism and the solutions offered by socialism, reminding us again and again that it isn't a matter of a few corrupt and greedy individuals, that the capitalist system itself requires poverty and inequality. And his explanations are very well done, lucid and compelling.

Of course, as he also repeatedly reminds us, no matter how clearly explained, most people will just not want to understand, or if they do, will remain convinced that there's nothing they can do to change things. This is where socialist art comes in, however. A novel like this should leave us frustrated and exasperated, motivated to work together to educate and agitate, to produce a socialist party. Our children's lives depend on it.
Tressell didn't live to see his novel published, but it has remained in print continuously for a century now, first in an abridged edition, then after 1955 in an edition that restored the novel, as closely as possible, to its original manuscript form. Today, it is available in a relatively cheap edition from Wordsworth Classics, as well as in free or very inexpensive digital formats.

Tressell's depiction of the real daily life of ordinary working men and women is engaging and will likely ring true to anyone who has worked in such trades even today. And certainly all socialists can share his experience of frustration at the difficulty of the work to be done, the very hard work of helping people break through their illusions and misconceptions. His novel can serve as an inspiration to us, both to follow the example of his characters and work for a socialist future, and, hopefully, to write more such novels today, depicting the reality of working life with no fantasy Hollywood endings. The only solution is collective political effort, Tressell tells us. Part of that effort, he shows by example, is the creation of socialist art. Can we listen to him today?

Milwaukee Hand Trucks 33881 19-Inch by 29-Inch Folding Handle Platform Truck
Milwaukee Hand Trucks 33881 19-Inch by 29-Inch Folding Handle Platform Truck
Price: $47.86
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5.0 out of 5 stars this is just right for household use, January 1, 2014
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this is very handy for moving things around my home. it's sturdy but not expensive. wish i thought to get this years ago.

OXO Good Grips Extendable Twister Snow Brush with Ice Scraper
OXO Good Grips Extendable Twister Snow Brush with Ice Scraper
Price: $19.99
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5.0 out of 5 stars great for Chicago winters, January 1, 2014
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I purchased this for a friend who recently moved to Chicago from the South and was about to experience his first Chicago winter. It's sturdy, well made, does the job and will last.

Corolle Mini Corolline Coco Doll
Corolle Mini Corolline Coco Doll
Price: $15.81
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars looks just like the little girl it's for, January 1, 2014
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i purchased this for a little girl with silky black hair and coco skin whose father is from India and whose mother is not. It was great to find a doll that looked like her!

Thundershirt  Dog Jacket for Anxiety, Large, Solid Grey
Thundershirt Dog Jacket for Anxiety, Large, Solid Grey
Offered by Kellys Basket Inc.
Price: Click here to see our price
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars definitley an improvement, July 1, 2013
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it's definitley an imporvement. she does much better during thunderstorms, but seasonal fireworks leading up to july 4 are still a problem for her.

by Beatrice Lumpkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.66
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Book about and Extraordinary Life, June 1, 2013
This review is from: JOY in the STRUGGLE (Paperback)
An Extraordinary Book about and Extraordinary Life
by Scott Hiley,
In 1934, New York's Hunter College tried to increase milk prices in its cafeteria from five to six cents a half pint. A twenty percent increase was as hard to swallow for working-class students then as it is now, so freshman Beatrice Lumpkin led a milk boycott:

"The boycott was a huge success. Students massed around our table. I had to climb on top of a table to be heard. I did not realize that the dean of students had come into the lunchroom... It was too late to be diplomatic; I am afraid that I had already called her a fascist... [The dean] was best known for insisting on proper dress for 'ladies'. 'Only Communists or prostitutes would be seen in public without a hat' was one her pearls of wisdom."

The author doesn't mention whether she was wearing a hat at the time, but Lumpkin was already a Communist. She had joined the Young Communist League in high school to study Marxism and work for peace.

Today, at 94, she is still a proud Communist, still a leader in the struggle for justice. She details her 80 years of engagement in the workers' cause in her new autobiography, "Joy in the Struggle: My Life and Love."

There is indeed joy in these pages. The author tells of her 60-year marriage to comrade and steelworker leader Frank Lumpkin (the subject of her previous book, "Always Bring a Crowd"). When Lumpkin talks of solidarity with her fellow workers, of seeing in Cuba the first fruits of the Revolution, or of teaching the African roots of mathematics, her book resonates with hope for a better world.

But as the title says, this is a book about struggle. Another, uglier story weaves through Lumpkin's joy: blacklists and red-baiting, union busting, unemployment, and the vicious racism that she and her husband, like so many others, faced and fought in Chicago in the 1950s and 60s.

This interweaving of anger, sorrow, humor, and joy makes "Joy in the Struggle" a deeply human book about a woman who has devoted her entire life to the fight for equality, democracy, and peace. It is the story of everything that is extraordinary in the trials and triumphs of ordinary working people, told by a great writer, thinker, and fighter of the working class.

More than just one woman's story, "Joy in the Struggle" is a treasure trove of advice and tactics for others engaged in building workers' power and solidarity.

In Lumpkin's vision of the world, nothing falls outside of political work. Injuries and illness show the inequality of access to medical care. Motherhood grounds a discussion of sexism, but also shows the power of solidarity among working women.

Even mandatory hairnets on the job have a lesson ("It was nice to be able to put in curlers and set our hair on the bosses' time").

The most valuable lesson, though, has to do with coalition building. Lumpkin returns time and again to the necessity of building coalitions to advance a people's agenda:

"Bring together everybody who agrees on an issue, even if they disagree on other subjects. The pooled strength of the groups can win on the issue that all the groups support. If we waited until everybody agreed on everything, we could never move forward."

Beatrice Lumpkin's extraordinary book, like her extraordinary life, shows the power of people coming together in the fight for a better world. It is a worthy addition to the ranks of great stories of struggle like Elizabeth Gurley Flynn's Rebel Girl or Ben Davis' Communist Councilman from Harlem.

Lumpkin's book is dedicated "to the young people fighting for a world that puts people before profit." It is a great gift that she has given us, and we are proud to carry on her valiant struggle for a fair, peaceful, and democratic world.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 1, 2013 2:47 PM PDT

Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution
Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution
by Mary Gabriel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.99
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and revolution: Marx family biography has lessons, February 21, 2013
Reviewed by Emile Schepers in

A frequently heard quote from Argentine-Cuban revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara is: "Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love."

A biography of the Marx family by journalist Mary Gabriel, published in 2011 and now available in paperback, should make all progressive activists reflect on Che's saying. For this story of Karl Marx and his wife, friend, lifelong lover and chief follower, Jenny von Westphalen, and their family and circle is both a love story and a historical-political account.

The book is "Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution." It is, by the way, exceedingly well written.

Many books about the personal lives of people like Marx are annoying, because while they tell us interesting stuff about their illustrious subjects, the authors do not really understand their politics. Gabriel, however, "gets" Marx and Marxism. Though Marx's theories are not her main subject, she shows the reader why it was that Karl and Jenny Marx were willing to put up with persecution, poverty, sickness and the death in infancy or childhood of three of their six children, for the working class cause. At each step, she cleverly interweaves the political with the personal, and shows us how the Marx family and close friends functioned as a unit to lay the theoretical and practical foundation for the socialist and communist movements worldwide.

Marx and his wife were anything but cold-hearted ideologues, callous about the fate of those around them because of their fanatical adherence to an abstract doctrine.

First of all they loved each other deeply for all of their lives. They shared many things besides politics; their lively senses of humor were so attuned that sometimes they dared not make eye contact in a room for fear of getting the giggles. They loved their children tremendously and got endless delight from them. Gabriel reveals that when Marx was writing "The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" he was harnessed to a chair because his children were playing horse and carriage and he was the horsey.

The deaths of their children, especially of little "Colonel Musch" at age 8, were exceedingly cruel blows. When Jenny died of cancer at age 68 in 1881, Marx was nearly destroyed. When his eldest daughter, also named Jenny, died (also of cancer) a year later, Marx became a shell of his former self, and died shortly thereafter, in 1883.

Unlike many who have written on Marx's family, Gabriel gives a sympathetic picture of Marx's father, as well as of Jenny's family, the Prussian aristocratic von Westphalens. Heinrich Marx, was worried by his son's political radicalism and bohemian lifestyle not only because he thought Karl would come to grief, but also because he feared for the future of Jenny, whom he had come to love as a daughter. Jenny's father, Baron Ludwig von Westphalen, actually introduced the young Karl Marx to radical politics.

The Marx family circle included, also, Marx's closest male friend and political collaborator, Friedrich Engels, Engels' common law wife Mary Burns (who introduced Marx's daughters to the Irish freedom struggle), and long-time Marx family "housekeeper" Helena "Lenchen" Demuth, with whom Marx probably fathered a son. These were more like family than mere friends. Having no children of his own, Engels treated the Marx children as such. Occasionally Engels expressed exasperation with Marx's perfectionism which led him to repeatedly miss publishers' deadlines, but he was always amazingly supportive both financially and emotionally.

Marx's three daughters (Jenny Jr. or Jennychen, Laura and Eleanor or "Tussy") were, like their mother, substantial figures in the socialist movement in their own right. They all were chief disciples and hard-working assistants of their father, but also developed their own political activities, including involvement with the Irish freedom movement, the Paris Commune and the British and European labor movements.

But the fate of all three was unbearably tragic. First, they all married losers. Jenny's husband, Charles Longuet, was a minor figure in French socialist politics who neglected his wife's needs. Laura married Franco-Cuban Paul Lafargue, who subsequently became so doctrinaire that he provoked Marx's famous quip, "If anything is certain it is that I am not a Marxist". Both the Lafargues died in what we hope was a joint suicide in Draveil, France in 1910 (there are doubts).

But Eleanor's fate was the worst: She fell in with a truly sinister character, the British dilettante socialist Edward Aveling, whose financial dishonesty stained her reputation, and who finally betrayed her by secretly marrying a young actress. Within a day of being informed of this, Eleanor Marx committed suicide, on March 31, 1897.

What is the lesson? Back to Che: A true revolutionary must be motivated by love. It is impossible to love the working class or "the people" in the abstract, without having strong love for those closest to you. But the lives of activists, let alone revolutionaries, often puts this love under terrific strain.

We must make sure that we are working in a way that reflects our love not only for humanity, but also for those closest to us. And that is a collective task for the movement, not something which families should struggle with alone.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 19, 2013 2:29 PM PDT

The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change
The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change
by Al Gore
Edition: Hardcover
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Al Gore takes on "The Future", February 8, 2013
Reviewed by Marc Brodine on

In his new book, "The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change," Al Gore tries to expand his public role to issues that relate to but go beyond climate change. Gore addresses what he sees as the six major challenges for the future of the world.

Readers contribute as much to what they get out of books as the authors do. This may be even more true than usual for readers of Gore's book. What you get from this book strongly depends on the reasons you read the book in the first place. Right-wingers will be infuriated. Those looking for a broad view of the challenges facing the world from a science-based but fairly mainstream perspective will find exactly what they are looking for. Those looking for an explanation of the fundamental causes of those challenges will find the book less than adequate.

The breadth of issues discussed by Gore is impressive. He has access to leading researchers and academics in many fields, and seems to have a voracious mind, eager to discuss and connect cutting edge developments in many fields. From robotics to gene therapy, from agriculture to income inequality, from climate change to brain research, from campaign finance reform to bioethics, he reports and links many developments into a relatively coherent whole. This is quite an accomplishment considering the range of issues, developments, and problems he writes about.

One of the paradoxes of U.S. politics is that someone as uncharismatic as Al Gore can become such a polarizing public figure. His role in popularizing explanations of climate change to the general public makes him a lightning rod for criticism from climate change deniers, fossil fuel company flacks, and fossil fuel company owners and major shareholders who will have their pocketbooks diminished if Gore's message about climate change is heard and acted on by tens of millions of people in our country.

Because of who he is and the role he has played in U.S. politics, Gore's book is receiving mainstream attention including major reviews and appearances on talk shows (and Jon Stewart's "Daily Show"). And that is mostly a good thing. Gore's identification of problems and explanation of the primary and secondary causes of those problems is a real contribution to public debate. His indictments of U.S. economics and politics will drive right-wingers to fury. His reporting of masses of facts will make it harder for opponents to dismiss his claims out-of-hand.

Conversely, those who read expecting a thoroughgoing expose of the major problems facing the world are more likely to find themselves buried under a mountain of facts, statistics, and "profound" statements which often correctly identify many problems but gloss over their key underlying causes.

If what you want is a wide-ranging, erudite discussion of all the main challenges facing humanity, from climate change to the role of corporations and the super-rich to economic transformations due to globalization and automating of production processes, then this book is a treasure trove of details that are important to understanding those challenges.

Nonetheless, those seeking an understanding of why we are in the position we are, and of the fundamental necessary transformations in world politics, economics, and production, will run up against Gore's ideological advocacy of what he (and many others) term "sustainable capitalism."

Gore's strengths and weaknesses are on full display in "The Future." Recognizing Gore's limitations, it is worthwhile to plow through this long and detailed book to get an important perspective on profound challenges facing us, and their "drivers."

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.40
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lincoln: principles and politics, February 8, 2013
Reviewed by Tim Wheeler at

In this 150th anniversary year of the Emancipation Proclamation, we are fortunate to have Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals to help us understand Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery. It goes together with Stephen Spielberg's film Lincoln that has been nominated for several Oscars.

Goodwin brings the 16th President of the United States to life, a plainspoken frontiersman who seemed to come out of nowhere. Lincoln was a rawboned circuit lawyer from Illinois, born in a Kentucky log cabin, with one year of formal education - the "rail splitter."

Goodwin portrays him as a generous, outgoing man, fond of telling jokes. He was a brilliant political strategist and tactician who defeated rivals far wealthier and better connected than he. Having won the presidency, Lincoln turned around and named his rivals to his cabinet.

Lincoln held his cabinet together against all odds. Yet on a grander scale, Lincoln held the Union itself together, spearheading a coalition that ranged from abolitionists like Frederick Douglass to border state politicians like Maryland's Montgomery Blair.

Goodwin paints on a broad canvas, depicting the nation's capital during the Civil War. Her book reminds me of Margaret Leech's Reveille in Washington, likewise a Pulitzer Prize winner. Yet Goodwin delves far deeper into the political and ideological roots of the struggle.

I found especially moving her portrayal of women in the struggle. She quotes letters Frances Seward wrote to her husband, Secretary of State William Henry Seward, chastising him for retreating from his abolitionist principles and even criticizing Lincoln for concessions to the slave power. Goodwin stresses the enormous loss suffered by virtually every family from illness, a tragedy multiplied a thousand-fold by death and maiming on the battlefield.

The dramatic highpoint of Goodwin's book - and of Lincoln's presidency - is the Emancipation Proclamation that freed "henceforth and forever" three-and-a-half million enslaved African Americans.

Lincoln was facing one battlefield defeat after another. The death toll climbed above half a million. He had reached the conclusion that the only strategy to save the union was to free the slaves. They then enlisted in the war to defeat the slave power, something long advocated by the great abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass.

Lincoln decided in the summer of 1862 the time had come. He drafted the Emancipation Proclamation and read it to his cabinet July 22. Seward warned that if Lincoln issued the Proclamation immediately, it would be seen as an act of desperation. Lincoln agreed to wait for a Union victory on the battlefield.

Gen. Robert E. Lee crossed the Potomoc into Maryland with his army and engaged the Union army in combat at Antietam on September 7, 1862. By the end of the day, 6,000 soldiers on both sides were dead and 17,000 wounded. Yet Lee, defeated by the Union army, was forced to retreat.

It was the victory Lincoln was waiting for. On Sept. 22, the White House announced that Lincoln would sign the Proclamation January 1. Goodwin writes that the announcement was greeted with joy in the streets. Mass rallies were organized hailing the Proclamation.

Yet the "copperheads," so-called "Peace Democrats," campaigned during the 1862 midterm elections against Lincoln's decision to free the slaves. They called for a "peace" that would preserve the slave power and extend slavery. The "copperheads" won big gains in that election, whittling the Republican majority to a razor thin margin in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lincoln was deeply depressed by the election results. But he stood his ground. The Proclamation was signed and sealed.

Goodwin quotes Douglass's reaction that New Year's Day: "We shout for joy and we live to record this righteous decree ... Will it lead the President to reconsider and retract? No, Abraham Lincoln will take no step backward."

Goodwin alludes to a letter of congratulation Lincoln received from the "workingmen of London" (page 504) for signing the Proclamation. Lincoln replied, "The resources, advantages, and powers of the American people are very great.... It seems to have devolved upon them whether a government, established on the principles of human freedom, can be maintained."

Goodwin, referring to exchanges between Lincoln and the International Workingmen's Association in London, was talking about an organization founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. This was the labor-led movement that blocked England from recognizing the Confederacy, a crucial victory in the isolation and ultimate defeat of the slave owners.

Many of the IWA messages were drafted by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, co-authors of the Communist Manifesto in 1848. Horace Greeley, publisher of the New York Tribune, recruited Marx and Engels to write a series of columns on the Civil War.

Lincoln had working relations with German socialists who had fled Germany after the Prussian defeat of the 1848 democratic revolution in Germany. Some ended up in the United States, Joseph Weydemeyer, for example, a close associate of Karl Marx, was commissioned by Lincoln as a Brigadier General in command of Union troops defending St. Louis.

Lincoln was not a communist or even a socialist, of course. Yet he stated clearly in his first State of the Union speech, Dec. 3, 1861, that "labor is prior to and independent of capital." Goodwin's book dramatizes that, above everything else, Lincoln understood the imperative of unity. He was a pioneer in helping build a new kind of coalition that abolished slavery and saved the union.

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