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Publications Book Reviews
James R. Barrett, William Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism

James R. Barrett, William Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999). Pb. Xiii+352 ISBN 0-252-02046-4.

This book by James Barrett, a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is another volume at the series The Working Class in American History, edited by David Brody, Alice Kessler-Harris, David Montgomery, and Sean Wilentz.

It traces the early career of William Foster (the "Z." was a selfaddition at the beginning of his career in the leftist press), a selfeducated wage earner raised in the slums of a large industrial city who became a brillant union organizer and helped build the American Federation of Labor and, later, the radical Trade Union Educational League. Rising through the ranks of the Wobblies and the AFL, Foster eventually became a high-ranking member of the American Communist Party, replacing Earl Browder as party leader. His political jouney, according to Barrett, encapsulates the rise and fall of radicalism in the United States.

Barrett aims at presenting the twins strands of native radicalism and subservience to Communist Party dicta that ran through William Z. Foster's career. Political ideology is here closely related to labor activism. The book is well researched but rather complex. As a leftwing historian, Barrett often seems to look at history through the prism of working class mythology, which makes it difficult for him to pass a reliable judgement on the real place of Communism and of William Z. Foster in American history Although it does use a number of new sources, Barrett's book is a minor contribution after the biography of Foster already published by Edward P. Johanningsmeier (Forging American Communism).

Nicolas Gachon
Université Paul Valéry-Montpellier III


EAAS Biennial Conferences

Other Conferences

Lausanne, 2 and 3 November 2018

CFP (by April 30, 2018)


University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, 9-11 July 2018, Georgia USA

CFP (by February 16, 2018)


Central European University and the University of Debrecen, 27-28 April 2018, Budapest, Hungary

CFP (by December 15, 2017)

University College Dublin

CFP (by January 22, 2018)

European Journal of American Studies

The European Journal of American Studies is the official journal of EAAS. It welcomes contributions from Americanists in Europe and elsewhere and aims at making available state-of-the-art research on all aspects of United States culture and society.

Read more at http://ejas.revues.org/.

European Views of the United States

European Views of the United States is the official book series of the EAAS.9783825365783       

We are proud to announce volumes 8, 9, 10 of the series:

Tanrisever, Ahu. Fathers, Warriors, and Vigilantes: Post-Heroism and the US Cultural Imaginary in the Twenty-First Century, vol. 10, 2016 (Rob Kroes Publication Award 2015).

Intercontinental Crosscurrents: Women's Networks across Europe and the Americas, eds. Julia Nitz, Sandra H. Petrulionis, and Theresa Schön, vol. 9, 2016.

America: Justice, Conflict, War, eds. Amanda Gilroy and Marietta Messmer, vol. 8, 2016 (The Hague Conference 2014).

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