C. L. R. James
, West Indian author and historian, sometime cricket correspondent for The Manchester Guardian, Africanist, Marxist and black intellectual, is an extraordinary 20th century figure. His history of the Haitian slave revolution, The Black Jacobins
, is a masterpiece of humanity and empathy, a classic. He lived in Britain and the United States, where he was friendly with the New York left and the emerging black writers, Richard Wright
and . Yet he lived most of his life on the fringe, his ideas disseminated through tiny groups. Paradoxically, he loved America. His study of , essentially an attack on Stalinism
, was written while imprisoned on Ellis Island awaiting deportation during the McCarthy era. Kent Worcester has written an in-depth biography.
--This text refers to the
From Library Journal
Cyril Lionel Robert James was a remarkable figure whose eclectic Marxism bound together a long life pursuing political activism, original theory, and literary criticism. This biography helps situate James's prolific output among years spent in Europe, the United States, and his native Trinidad. He emerges as a tireless man who moved comfortably from the task of organizing sharecroppers to a taste for leftist Hegelianism. Specialists in Marxism and African American studies will appreciate Worcester's efforts at locating James within the "Johnson-Forest Tendency" of American Trotskyism, as well as the detailed appendix of James's associates. The author, deeply sympathetic to his subject, avoids criticizing or interpreting James's schismatism politics or his several marriages. The book necessarily covers much of the same material as Paul Buhle's C.L.R. James: The Artist as Revolutionary (Verso, 1988), but differences between the biographies should help stimulate the attention that James deserves. Recommended for larger academic and public libraries, particularly those specializing in political theory or Caribbean or African American studies.?Zachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ.-Erie
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