In this provocative biographical portrait, Robert A. Gorman examines the political and intellectual life of this engaging radical thinker while looking ahead to the ways in which the work and example he has left us can affect political life in the twenty-first century.
Michael Harrington's major attempt to Americanize socialism plays a big part in Gorman's analysis. He tells readers how it is possible to be both radical and patriotic and how an unjust system can be transformed without being destroyed.
"Robert Gorman's compelling portrait of America's most visible and important socialist will provoke discussion and debate among Harrington's followers and critics alike. This book provides a wealth of information, not only about Harrington's rich political and intellectual life and influence, but about the dilemmas of the leftist tradition in America as well." -- William Julius Wilson, University of Chicago
"Robert Gorman retraces Michael Harrington's lifelong intellectual development from his beginnings as a young socialist caught up by the theories and conflicts of the old left, through his later struggles to engage the new currents of radical politics of the decades after the 1960s. Gorman sees clearly the errors and missteps which dogged Harrington in his lifelong project of developing a socialist perspective and a rhetoric that would capture the enthusiasm of ordinary Americans. Nevertheless, what emerges is the portrait of a towering person, a man of intellect, talent and passion who became an extraordinary figure in 20th century American politics." -- Frances Fox Piven, The Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York