The Role of Jewish Women in American Communism: Background information when reading Dissident Gardens

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Dissident Gardens

A Novel

by Jonathan Lethem

Dissident Gardens
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2013, 384 pages
    Jun 2014, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Role of Jewish Women in American Communism

While communism might be a dirty word today, its principles held a lot of appeal for the working poor in the United States for much of the 1920s through the 50s. The idea of a "workers' revolution" akin to the Russian October revolution of 1917 didn't seem too far-fetched. The stock market crash of 1929 followed by the Great Depression further cemented the popularity of a movement that promised better labor arrangements in general - improved working conditions and equal rights for all. Communism grew to such a strong extent that it soon became a vital part of left-wing American politics.

Religious organizations with their emphasis on "social justice" also found roots in this left-wing movement. Soon, Jewish women played a large part in keeping numbers strong, especially in New York City. Most of these members of the American Communist Party (CP) were East European Jews working in the trades. As the movement grew and the makeup and identity of these women evolved, the Communist Party...

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