Followers of the Trail: Jewish Working-Class Radicals in America

David Leviatin, Author Yale University Press $47 (320p) ISBN 978-0-300-04354-9
Followers of the Trail, a Jewish leftwing workers' camp, was founded in upstate New York in 1929 by a group of immigrants, many of whom helped unionize New York City's garment and fur trades. Leviatin, a lecturer at Harvard whose four grandparents belonged to the camp, assembles scores of unpretentious reminiscences in this oral and photographic history. Some of the camp's members were Communists; most were ``fellow travelers.'' They tell of the oppression they endured in Eastern Europe, the travails of immigration, their politicization in the U.S., family tragedies due to Nazism, the chill of the McCarthy era and their eventual disillusionment with communism. For many, the camp, with its emphasis on communal ties, re-created the European shtetls of their youth. Since 1952, when the camp was reorganized and renamed Reynolds Hill, its members have become predominantly middle-of-the-road liberals who share a secular identification with Judaism. Jewish Book Club alternate. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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