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Why is there no coherent (socialist) left in the United States? Weinstein (founding editor and publisher of In These Times and founder of the Socialist Review) is one of the most recent writers to attempt to address this question in his history of American leftism during the 19th and 20th centuries. He argues that the dominance of the left by the communists was a serious problem leading to an inability of the left to address American realities, even if many leftist proposals were adopted during the Progressive and New Deal eras and ameliorated some of the most pernicious effects of capitalism for large numbers of people. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
The Long Detour is an intellectually engaging overview of the history of socialism in the United States and of the continuing relevance of socialist principles today. Historian and journalist James Weinstein, a lifelong socialist and one-time Communist, takes readers from the movement's early years of utopian communities, through the heyday of engagement with the makers of corporate America, and into the future of a de-industrializing era. He contends that socialism as a political movement was sidetracked when Communist domination of the American left stifled creative social thought and diverted the traditional left into sterile disputes over the true nature of the Soviet Union. And he argues that while "real existing socialism" - which is what the Soviets called their system - is dead, the humane social principles articulated by Marx and the leaders of the pre-1917 socialist movement remain vitally important to those on the left who seek to realize the promise of American democracy.