Julia L. Mickenberg

in Learning from the Left

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780195152807
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199788903 | DOI:

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This introductory chapter opens with Howard Fast's Tony and the Wonderful Door (1952), which Fast wrote and self-published when he was blacklisted from most media because of his association with the Communist Party. Fast's tale, about a boy who can travel through time, is likewise an entry point for exploring the questions of why and how radicals, including those suffering from blacklisting, were able to publish children's books at the height of the McCarthy era. Although it is true that children's literature tends to support the dominant power structure, in the mid-20th century, children's literature became a key outlet for the Old Left, or people radicalized in the 1930s and marginalized in the 1950s. The Old Left's prominence in the children's literature field in the years following World War II points to their broader influence on American culture during a period usually seen as closed off to dissent.

Keywords: Howard Fast; Old Left; dissent; blacklisting; Communist Party; children's literature; publishing; progressive

Chapter.  7894 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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