Left to the end

Socialist in the wilderness

The Other American: The Life of Michael Harrington, by Maurice Isserman.

Countless times in his career, Michael Harrington heard himself introduced as “the author of The Other America, the book that sparked the war on poverty.” His other books on democratic socialism tended to get short shrift. Harrington was a friendly, generous figure, not inclined to chide a welcoming host, but these introductions were hard to bear. Sometimes he reintroduced himself: “I’ve written quite a few books since The Other America, some of which might interest you,” he would say. He could see his epitaph in the making: “Wrote The Other America, downhill after that.”


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