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James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American Revolutionary Left, 1890-1928


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The American revolutionary tradition reconsidered

About the Author

Bryan D. Palmer is the Canada Research Chair at Trent University. He edits Labour/Le Travail and is the author of ten other books, the most recent being Canada's 1960s: The Ironies of Identity in a Rebellious Era.


"In this magnificent biography of Cannon, the founder of American Trotskyism, Bryan Palmer recovers the lost history of the Left in the 1920s and completely reframes the debate about the origins and nature of the CPUSA. Beyond Cold War calumny or Popular Front fairy- tale, here is the true story of 'Reds,' told by a master historian." Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz, Planet of Slums, Buda's Wagon, and other books "An excellent portal through which to experience and better understand the radical Left in the United States." American Historical Review "A major contribution ... wonderfully written and magnificently researched." American Communist History "One of the finest books yet produced on the early Communist movement in the U.S." WorkingUSA "Destined to become a path-breaking classic on American Communism, Bryan Palmer's study of Jim Cannon offers a coherent and richly detailed account of that movement's formative decade. Communism in the United States of the 1920s emerges from this volume not as a mere hotbed of sterile sectarianism, but as a promising outgrowth of U.S. radical traditions boldly intersecting with the contradictory realities of Russian Communism." Paul Le Blanc, author of A Short History of the U.S. Working Class and Marx, Lenin and the Revolutionary Experience

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