Un-American

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Century of World Revolution

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"Un-American is a bold and long overdue inquiry into ‘the late Du Bois,’ full of keen originality and brilliantly associative thinking. With his signature level of professional competence, Mullen defies easy categorizations to track the black radical scholar’s diasporic identity through the optic of ‘world revolution.’ This investigation, vexed by the political horrors of imperialism, fascism, and Stalinism, yields unexpected and revealing parallels with the ideas of revolutionary thinkers such as Leon Trotsky and C. L. R. James. The result is a landmark study in the contours of affiliation, expanding the archive and breaking down polarized thought. This is a book to engage, chew over, and debate.” —Alan Wald, H. Chandler Davis Collegiate Professor of American Culture, University of Michigan

"In this expansively researched and expertly crafted biography of W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963) on the global stage, Mullen revisits the often contradictory and dialectical actions, thoughts, hopes, and writings of the sociologist and civil rights activist through post-World War II toward the end of the Cold War.... Mullen has considerable depth and nuance for the work of revisiting his subject as an international figure.... Mullen succeeds in weaving a revisionist narrative that positions Du Bois as a world actor within the revolutionary movements of the 20th century. VERDICT For readers interested in historical biographies situated in international politics and Cold War history.” —Library Journal

"Bill Mullen's new book Un-American explores...Du Bois' thought more thoroughly than any previous work. While every commentator on Du Bois has acknowledged his politics, Mullen shows us how central revolutionary thought was to Du Bois' entire intellectual trajectory in the twentieth century.... This book will open an entirely new window on the radical politics that animated most of his life's work.... Mullen's intervention will surely be felt...for years to come and deserves to be read by everyone with an interest in Black politics and the history of American socialism.” —International Socialist Review

"This is the sort of thoughtful and challenging book that remains with you, that gets you nodding your head unconsciously in agreement, muttering disapprovals, racing to the bookshelf to look up something. It is an essential addition to the canon of W. E. B. Du Bois scholarship.... Mullen wonderfully braids Du Bois's intellectual journey to an eclectic group of revolutionaries likewise drawn—at various times and in different ways—to the project of communist internationalism.... And he explores Du Bois's engagements with liberation struggles in India and China, Japan's global emergence, the specter of Stalinism, and the global peace work engendered by a dynamic cadre of leftist black women, particularly Claudia Jones and Shirley Graham Du Bois. Mullen's treatment of Smedley, Strong, and Jones is particularly sharp and illuminating.” —Journal of American History

 

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