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March 1992
475 pages  

6 1/8 x 9 1/4
9780822954712
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Steve Nelson, American Radical
Nelson, Steve, Barrett , James , Ruck, Rob
An oral history about the life of Steve Nelson,the immigrant teenage son of a Croatian miller, and later an American Communist Party organizer. Follows Nelson's varied career, and his rise in the ranks of the Party. Tells the inside story of the workings of the Party, from a small group of Detroit autoworkers to the Party leaders in New York.

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As the immigrant teenage son of a Croatian miller, Steve Nelson arrived in the United States after World War I and entered a world of chronic unemployment, low wages, dangerous work, and discrimination. Following the path taken by many fellow immigrant workers, he joined the Communist Party. He became a full-time organizer and ultimately a major leader, only to resign in 1957 after unsuccessful attempts to democratize the American party.

This remarkable oral biography, recounted in collaboration with two historians, describes day-to-day life in the party and traces Nelson's career from his beginnings in the Pennsylvania coalfields to his secret work as party courier in the Far East; form the battlefields of Civil War Spain to the jails of Cold War Pittsburgh; and from a small group of Communist autoworkers in Detroit to the upper reaches of a party leadership in New York. It is the frank and analytical account of a leading American working-class activist.

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“A fascinating portrait of a Communist activist with as varied and adventurous a career as can be imagined.”—New York Review of Books

“The best firsthand account . . . of what life was like for a Communist militant in the years between World War I and the Cold War . . . An admirable book.”--The Nation


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