A graphic biography of socialist labor legend Eugene V. Debs. Debs led the Socialist Party in the early 20th-century to federal and state office across the country, helped to pioneer a fighting union politics that organized all workers, & became the beloved figurehead of American radicalism. Imprisoned for speaking out against World War I, Debs ran for president from prison, receiving over 1 million votes. Debs’s story is the story of labor battles in industrializing America, of a socialist politics grown directly out of the American Midwest heartland, and of a distinctly American vision of socialism.

With the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the rise of mass movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter, and the Wall … More

Born OTD in 1885, American novelist, short-story writer, & playwright, Sinclair Lewis. Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear & promising drastic economic & social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism & “traditional” values. After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government & imposes a plutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS.

The novel’s plot centers on journalist Doremus Jessup’s opposition to the new regime and his subsequent struggle against it as … More

For nearly a century, the original version of Upton Sinclair’s classic novel has remained almost entirely unknown. When it was published in serial form in 1905, it was a full third longer than the censored, commercial edition published in book form the following year. That expurgated commercial edition edited out much of the ethnic flavor of the original, as well as some of the goriest descriptions of the meat-packing industry and much of Sinclair’s most pointed social and political commentary.

The text of this new edition is as it appeared in the original uncensored edition of 1905. It contains the … More

Born OTD in 1944, American political activist, academic, author & a prominent counterculture activist in the 1960s, Angela Y. Davis. The trial of Angela Davis is remembered as one of America’s most historic political trials, & no one can tell the story better than Davis herself. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Angela, including contributions from numerous radicals & commentators such as Black Panthers George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale & Erica Huggins, this book is not only an account of Davis’s incarceration & the struggles surrounding it, but also perhaps the most comprehensive & thorough analysis of the prison system of the United States & the figure embodied in Davis’s arrest and imprisonment-the political prisoner.

Since the book was written, the carceral system in the US has grown from strength to strength, with more of … More

OTD in 1853, after having been kidnapped and sold into slavery in the American South, Solomon Northup regains his freedom; his memoir Twelve Years a Slave later becomes a national bestseller. The shocking first-hand account of one man’s remarkable fight for freedom. `Why had I not died in my young years – before God had given me children to love & live for? What unhappiness & suffering & sorrow it would have prevented. I sighed for liberty; but the bondsman’s chain was round me, & could not be shaken off.’ 1841: Solomon Northup is a successful violinist when he is kidnapped & sold into slavery.

Taken from his family in New York State – with no hope of ever seeing them again – and forced … More

The eminent radical historian recalls his struggles against American racism and war, and he expresses his hope for the future, in this memoir and manifesto. The son of poor Jewish immigrants to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Zinn worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and served as a bombardier in Europe in WW II.

He attended Columbia University, received a doctorate in history in 1956, and became head of the history department at Spelman … More

Overlooked classics of American literature: Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks. Owen Brown is the last surviving son of America’s most famous political terrorist, John Brown, who in 1859 raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, intending to galvanise the Southern slaves into rebellion. Now Owen tells John’s story. This incredible novel recreates pre-Civil War America, when slavery was tearing the country apart, and tells of one man’s passage from abolitionist to guerrilla fighter &, finally, martyr.

Deeply researched, brilliantly plotted, and peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters both historical and wholly invented, Cloudsplitter is dazzling … More