This readable and informative volume of technical research is volume two of a trilogy covering the lives and careers of several generations of American left wing writers working against the existing system, to a greater or lesser extent. In the present volume, most of the writers entered the literary business in the latter half of the 1930’s. Wald determined to dig into the “trajectories,” i.e., outward bound movements, involving “literary, personal, and political” interests, in what he calls the period of the “‘antifascist crusade,’” which they pursued with blind zeal. Jewish figures are referred to throughout the book, and Jews are also given three separate chapters. One of the commendable features of Wald’s treasure trove of information here is that, embedded throughout his sober and patient tracing of the vicissitudes of Communist Party and Socialist party politics, as well as fascism’s factional advocates, he sprinkles brief bios of many familiar (to older readers) notables who may have had anything to do with his so-called “antifascist crusade.” Wald’s intellectual peep show feature may have slightly more reader interest than the heavier background portion, but the entire product is a garden of reader delights. Acknowledgments, index, notes, and sources.
Samuel I. Bellman is professor emeritus at California State Polytechnic University of Pomona. He has been writing on Jewish American writers since 1959.