A.J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the Twentieth Century
University of Pennsylvania Press 2014
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network February 28, 2017 Mark Klobas
During a life that stretched from the Progressive era to the 1960s, A. J. Muste dedicated himself to fighting against war and the exploitation of working Americans. In American Gandhi: A. J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the Twentieth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), Leilah Danielson describes the course of Muste’s career as a pacifist, labor organizer, and civil rights campaigner, explaining the development of his ideology within the context of his activism. An immigrant to America, Muste pursued a career as a Protestant minister until the pressures created by America’s entry into World War I forced him to resign from his pastorate. His work supporting striking textile workers in in Lawrence, Massachusetts heralded the start of a period of involvement in the labor movement, during which time he became a leading figure at Brookwood Labor College and attempted to establish a labor-based political party during the Great Depression. As another war approached in the late 1930s Muste returned to his roots as a Christian pacifist and spent the next three decades working on behalf of the civil rights and anti-nuclear movements before ending his years as a staunch opponent of America’s involvement in the war in Vietnam. As Danielson demonstrates, Muste’s ideas and example inspired generations of activists throughout the world, both in his time and in ours today.
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