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The New York Intellectuals: The Rise and Decline of the Anti-Stalinist Left From the 1930s to the 1980s Paperback – May 13, 1987

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Wald's studysubtle, insightfulranks with that small cluster of fine works on 20th-century radicals and on the familiar political odyssey of that loosely knit circle, the "New York intellectuals," as they devolved from anti-Stalinist revolutionary communism to neoconservative allies of Nixon and Reagan. But Wald throws a wide net, exploring the thought of, among others, Dwight Macdonald, Harvey Swados, and Philip Rahv, as well as the writings of the Trillings, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, et al. Admittedly a Marxist, Wald is balanced, though not detached or uncritical; the pages on Podhoretz, Decter, Kristol are hardly forgiving. Essential for those interested in the cultural and scholarly activities of an important group. Milton Cantor, History Dept., Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Without sharing Wald's fervent politics, I am full of admiration for his knowledge.

Alfred Kazin"

"An impressive piece of investigative reporting. . . . It deserves wide attention.

Daniel Aaron, Harvard University"

Without sharing Wald's fervent politics, I am full of admiration for his knowledge.

Alfred Kazin

An impressive piece of investigative reporting. . . . It deserves wide attention.

Daniel Aaron, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1st New edition edition (May 13, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807841692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807841693
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,611,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Phelps on April 13, 2015
Format: Paperback
A superb book on a circle of intellectuals that charts their initial attraction to Communism, their reconsideration and positioning of themselves as the anti-Stalinist left, and finally their deradicalization. The best book on the New York intellectuals, essential reading.
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Format: Paperback
At best this book is a minor footnote to a major battle in the Socialist Workers Party in 1939-40 that led to a split with what Trotsky characterized as "the petty-bourgeois opposition." As US involvement in World War II drew nearer, most of the intellectuals in the party were in panic. The form the debate took was primarily around the class nature of the Soviet Union, dialectics, and party organization. But it was really all about what position to take in the coming war.

The main books that document this split are In Defense of Marxism: The Social and Political Contradictions of the Soviet Union by Trotsky, and The Struggle for a Proletarian Party by SWP leader James P. Cannon. You will find additional supplementary information in Background to the Struggle for a Proletarian Party' and The Abern Clique.

The subtitle of this book is "The Rise and Decline of the Anti-Stalinist Left From the 1930s to the 1980s." Let me just say that at no point in its history did the Socialist Workers Party consider itself to be part of an "anti-Stalinist left." Revolutionaries define themselves by what they're for, not what they're against, and just the concept of an anti-Stalinist left takes you continually closer to anti-communism.
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By A Customer on July 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a good chronicle of the milieu of Cold War Liberals who provided a sophisticated democratic rationale for the Cold War and the political repression of the McCarthy era and who are the most responsible for the demonization of Communists in intellectual circles. In recent times their mentor and hero was President Reagan who gave James Burnham the Medal of Freedom along with Whittaker Chambers-thus their pretensions to being "left-wing" are about as credible as their less generic genuflections before the altar of Leon Trotsky.
This intellectual banditry and collusion with the forces of repression has nothing in common with traditions of authentic libertarian socialism.

James P. Cannon, in particular, the founder and long time leader of the Trotskyist movement in the U.S., who unlike Lillian Hellman never had any illusions about the charachter of the Stalin regime and who before founding this movement had played in the 1920s a leading role in the struggle in defense of Sacco & Vanzetti as a Communist leader of the International Labor Defense, took a dim view of these kind of turncoats and fair-weather friends as reflected in his essay from the early 1950s, "Treason of the Intellectuals" contained in his anthology "Notebook of an Agitator", where he denounced those who were leaving both the CP and his own organization (Socialist Workers Party) and the progressive movement generally, to jump on the bandwagon of the anti-communist witch-hunt, some like Edward Dymytrk going so far as to inform on their former comrades, in addition to making false and demagogic accusations against others, as nothing but cowardly and corrupt opportunists, scabs, finks and traitors.
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