cover image Out of Step: An Unquiet Life in the 20th Century

Out of Step: An Unquiet Life in the 20th Century

Sidney Hook. HarperCollins Publishers, $32.95 (628pp) ISBN 978-0-06-015632-9

In this lengthy, eventful and intellectual autobiography, Hook charts his conversion from communist fellow-traveler to outspoken anti-Marxist and opponent of Soviet expansionism. He blasts Irving Howe and other liberals who, he charges, have concealed their leftist pasts. Calling his own early socialism a substitute for religion, the academic philosopher recalls how Earl Browder, head of the U.S. Communist Party, tried to enlist him as a spy. His firsthand impressions of key figures in the Alger Hiss case will undoubtedly stir controversy. Hook's running debate on world politics with Albert Einstein is recreated here in an exchange of letters. His battles with Sartre, Brecht, Edmund Wilson and Erich Fromm are relived blow by blow. Hook's stated belief that the U.S.S.R. is responsible for starting and sustaining the Cold War is reflected on every page. (April 10)