Wasn't That a Time?: Growing Up Radical and Red in America
Author: Robert Schrank
Publisher: Mit Pr
Condition: Used: Near Fine
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"[This] is a marvelously readable work, often of considerable emotional power and personal tension. But most importantly, it is a story-telling book, in which Schrank uses the episodes and turning points of his own life to illuminate not only his biographical transformation, but the social and political world in which he played such a vital part."
-- Nelson Lichenstein "I was born two weeks before the Bolshevik Revolution into an immigrant family that was part of New York's large German socialist community." So begins Robert Schrank's compelling autobiography. In a down-to-earth, anecdotal style, he recounts a life rare in the breadth of its experience and the depth of its transformations. From Young Communist League member and union activist to management consultant for global corporations, Schrank has lived a life based on empathy and principles, and as an activist in some of the major political and social upheavals of this century.
Schrank tells of his childhood in the Bronx German immigrant working-class culture of the 1920s and early 1930s. Through his story the reader experiences a community of political and intellectual passion being torn apart as it struggles to deal with the rise of Nazism and the decline of the old radical movement. Drawing on his FBI files--750 pages of material ranging from intrigue to Mack Sennett comedy--Schrank brings to life the events of Party membership and of his role in the rise of industrial unions in the 1930s and 1940s. ("I was part of this radical world of true believers. We ate, slept, worked, and dreamed of a future socialist society from the time we got out of bed in the morning until we left the lastmeeting at night. The revolution was our reason for being, and it was never far from our thoughts.")
Schrank writes from the point of view of the rank and file, even when describing his role in the leadership of the New York State Machinists Union. A rebel in his own land, he was expelled three times from union off