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Michael Gold
The People's Writer
Michael Gold
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Patrick Chura - Author
SUNY series in Contemporary Jewish Literature and Culture
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 354 pages
Release Date: December 2020
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8097-8

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An authoritative biography of the dean of American proletarian writers during the interwar years.

Jewish American Communist writer and cultural figure Michael Gold (1893–1967) was a key progressive author of his generation, yet today his work is too often forgotten. A novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, journalist, and editor, Gold was the leading advocate of leftist, proletarian literature in the United States between the two world wars. His acclaimed autobiographical novel Jews without Money (1930) is a vivid account of early twentieth-century immigrant life in the tenements of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In this authoritative biography, Patrick Chura traces Gold’s story from his impoverished youth, through the period of his fame during the “red decade” of the 1930s, and into the McCarthy era, when he was blacklisted and forced to work menial jobs to support his family. In his time as a radical writer-activist, Gold courageously helped strikes, protested against war and fascism, worked for the Unemployed Councils, walked in hunger marches and May Day parades, got arrested in support of Sacco and Vanzetti, raised money for workers’ cooperatives and leftist journalism, and demonstrated for fair housing, the Rosenbergs, civil rights, and against nuclear weapons. This biography welcomes Gold back into cultural conversations about art, literature, politics, social change, and Jewish American life in the twentieth century.

“With its huge amount of new and not readily available biographical material, this book offers a quantum leap forward in our understanding of the life of this controversial Jewish American Communist author.” — Alan M. Wald, author of Exiles from a Future Time: The Forging of the Mid-Twentieth-Century Literary Left

“This book brings Mike Gold to life in a way that previous studies have not. As the only full-length biography of Gold, it successfully demonstrates just how important a figure he was by providing a comprehensive overview of his work, activism, and life, as well as revealing how well known and influential he was as a radical thinker and artist. The scholarship is incredibly impressive, and much care has gone into thinking about and writing this book.” — Catherine Rottenberg, editor of Black Harlem and the Jewish Lower East Side: Narratives Out of Time

Patrick Chura is Professor of English at the University of Akron. He is the author of Thoreau the Land Surveyor and Vital Contact: Downclassing Journeys in American Literature from Herman Melville to Richard Wright.

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