On NBC Television News, last Friday night, pictures were shown of American refugees who had fled from Panama following the rioting there. One woman, relating the frightening experience of her husband, said: “His car was overturned, rocks were thrown at him, and he barely made it into the Canal Zone.”
In the late l930’s I sat in on a course of education for trade unionists. That these workers had a desire to learn was evident by their enrollment in a class held in the evenings, after they had done a day’s work. That the teacher knew his subject was manifest from the brilliance of his lecture. That the combination of students’ desire and teacher’s grasp of the material did not result in learning was obvious from the fact that before the hour was over, several members of the class were asleep; it was apparent, too, from the decline in enrollment—the next class was attended by only half the students, and the third time the class met, less than a quarter who had signed up were in attendance.
This introduction to socialist thought is by two men perhaps better qualified than any other Americans to have written it. Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy, founding editors and publishers of the independent socialist magazine Monthly Review, built an impressive reputation as keen observers, acute analysts, and lucid writers on the world and domestic scenes. In this book, they present in clear and direct language the basic elements of the socialist critique of capitalist society.
“The most successful attempt to date to humanize the Dismal Science and link the history of man to the history of economic theory.” —The New Yorker
“The Drama of America” is truly to be found between the covers of this classic book—an exhilarating and often tragic account of a nation and the struggles of those caught up in the processes of its becoming, written by Monthly Review founding co-editor Leo Huberman. A precursor to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and, like that book, immensely popular upon its release, We, the People recasts U.S. history from the perspectives of those far removed from official power: the anonymous toilers so often ignored by conventional histories. These are the men, women, and children who cleared the land and worked its fields, built and inhabited the factories, moved goods along the railways and canals and highways, and raised the next generation of workers whose exploited labor would propel the nation’s development.