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Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (The Working Class in American History)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  171 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In this classic book, Nick Salvatore offers a major reevaluation of Eugene V. Debs, the movements he launched, and his belief in American Socialism as an extension of the nation's democratic traditions.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 15th 2007 by University of Illinois Press (Urbana) (first published 1982)
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Erik Graff
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
I was a long-time member of the Socialist Party. One of the reasons was familial. Father and his father had both belonged. Another was because two of my heroes, Norman M. Thomas and Eugene V. Debs, had belonged. When I was young, Thomas was still around. I recall reading about his death one day while in our high school's in-school suspension lock-up where I had been spending a week's sentence for political crimes. As I got older Debs gradually came to supercede Thomas. I still, even after having ...more
David Bates
Mar 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Labor historians sometimes go to great lengths to ground their protagonists in American thought and conditions rather than European socialist ideology. This arises both from a desire to dispel the smear that their subjects were ideologically foreign agitators and from the conviction that social thought and actions are the product of economic structure. Grounding perennial Socialist candidate Eugene Debs in American life is the central focus of Nick Salvatore’s 1982 biography Eugene Debs: Citizen ...more
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've been interested in Debs for a long time, especially since moving to Indiana and learning that he was a native son. Indiana in general would rather claim Hoagy Carmicheal, Michael Jackson, Benjamin Harrison, and Abraham Lincoln than a socialist labor organizer like Debs, but we should be very proud of him. Salvatore writes as a historian, not a partisan, and tries to show Debs in his weak moments as well as his glorious ones, and evaluates his strengths as a leader, organizer, and speaker, b ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
As biographies go, Nick Salvatore’s ‘Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist’ is probably one of the most well balanced and in depth books for its length. All aspects of the social and economic environment are addressed just enough to understand the evolution from fraternal benefit and trade union organizer to Socialist leader and Presidential candidate. The book begins with a synopsis of his hometown of Terre Haute, so detailed that I was initially concerned that this writing would be about every ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Well researched, very detailed -- but also presumes a strong knowledge of the time and the people involved. I would have enjoyed more background on some of the supporting characters (Berger, Hilquist, Haywood, McKeen etc.) and some reference help such as charts of the hierarchy in various unions and the Socialist party of the time. Also a bit dry at times. This is not a narrative history and Salvatore sometimes skips around a bit chronologically which for me caused a bit of confusion. Still, I f ...more
Justin Clark
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
A masterful biography. Salvatore's analysis of Debs' life and work within American radicalism represents a classic in the literature. While its labor history can be difficult to get though at times, Salvatore's grasp of intellectual history is second to none, elegantly weaving his take on socialism's connection to America throughout the narrative. I highly recommend this book.
Mark Bowles
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nick Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs; Citizen and Socialist (1982)
1. Discusses the triumph and tragedy of the socialist leaders personal and public life
2. Explores the first generation of American radicals who had to grapple with the emergence of modern corporate capitalism
Donna Davis
Debs is one of my favorite historical figures. The fifth star is withheld because the only thing better than reading ABOUT Debs, is reading his actual speeches, which are also available. But hey...owning both (and one more biography, too) can't hurt.
Nick Buck
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thorough and balanced. One of the most even-handed biographies I've read. The narrative wasn't the most engaging, but the topic should take care of that. Wonderfully done. That every American doesn't know about Debs, especially every Hoosier, is a tragedy.
Thomas Baughman
This is one of the best historical biograpies written in the last 30 years.
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A life-changing read for me.
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
excellent biography of Debs
Joshua Lawson
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, labor
A well-written biography that gives unique insight into the person and work of Eugene Debs, one of the most influential leaders in the early American Socialist movement.
Feb 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, labor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Danielle Brooks
Dec 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
his progression from passionate to reformer was amazing. i hope to be that person one day.
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