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If I Had a Hammer: The Death of the Old Left and the Birth of the New Left
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If I Had a Hammer: The Death of the Old Left and the Birth of the New Left

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Paperback, 259 pages
Published March 1st 1993 by University of Illinois Press (first published 1987)
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Mark Bowles
A. Preface: A Renaissance in the 1950s?
1. There was a split between the Old Left and the New Left in the 1950s. But, the New Left emerged in ways that do not show clear boundaries. This book seeks to understand the roots of radicalism in the 1960s by looking at the historical roots of that movement (the Old Left). He argues that the New Left did not inherently consist of violence, irrationalism, or sympathy with totalitarianism (although all 3 became far too prevalent in the New Left by the end
A neglected period that Isserman captures well (at least in the memory of this reader, who lived through these events.) It's important to recall that the New Left arose, not only from the wreckage of the Communist Party (and the Left groups that shared its focus, though not its view of the USSR), but also from pacifist currents--Catholic Worker, the Quakers, et al.--that were uninterested in just what kind of "deformed workers' state" (or whatever) the Soviet Union had become, and when. Some Old ...more
Dan Sharber
if you are interested in a history of the left and, more importantly, the continuity between the old left and the new left this book is for you. this continuity is not often written about when discussing the 60's or the new left in general but it is there. however, and this is what is more useful about this book, the new left was not open to the ideas and methods of the old left which had become somewhat brittle and didactic after weathering the intense storm of mccarthyism and the corrosive eff ...more
Incredible account of the fall of the old left and the birth of the new left as chronicled by the rise of three distinct tendencies which bridged the divide: the Shachtmanites entry into the SP-SDF, the birth of Dissent Magazine and the influence of the Musteites and others on the early days of the peace campaigns.
Aaron Finestone
Boring. The only good chapter is about the 1856 to 1958 breakup of the CPUSA, a sequel to Izserman's Which Side Were You On. The rest of the book is a loser.
helps to understand how the New Left developed
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