Young Radicals: In the War for American Ideals (Hardcover)

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From the co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Hamilton: The Revolution, the stunning story of five American radicals fighting for their ideals as the country goes mad around them

Where do we find our ideals? What does it mean to live for them--and to risk dying for them? For Americans during World War I, these weren't abstract questions. Young Radicals tells the story of five activists, intellectuals and troublemakers who agitated for freedom and equality in the hopeful years before the war, then fought to defend those values in a country pitching into violence and chaos.

Based on six years of extensive archival research, Jeremy McCarter's dramatic narrative brings to life the exploits of Randolph Bourne, the bold social critic who strove for a dream of America that was decades ahead of its time; Max Eastman, the charismatic poet-propagandist of Greenwich Village, whose magazine The Masses fought the government for the right to oppose the war; Walter Lippmann, a boy wonder of socialism who forged a new path to seize new opportunities; Alice Paul, a suffragist leader who risked everything to win women the right to vote; and John Reed, the swashbuckling journalist and impresario who was an eyewitness to--and a key player in--the Russian Revolution.

Each of these figures sensed a moment of unprecedented promise for American life--politically, socially, culturally--and struggled to bring it about, only to see a cataclysmic war and reactionary fervor sweep it away. A century later, we are still fighting for the ideals these five championed: peace, women's rights, economic equality, freedom of speech--all aspects of a vibrant American democracy. The story of their struggles brings new light and fresh inspiration to our own.

Praise for Young Radicals

"One of the exciting new nonfiction books this summer."--Sarah Begley, Time

"McCarter's prose is engaging, moving, and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny. Recommended for young radicals today who want to understand past attempts to change the world in the face of repression."--Library Journal (starred review)

"In this poetic, impassioned book, written with a fierce moral urgency, Jeremy McCarter conjures up a clutch of brilliant dreamers--poets, feminists, journalists, and political rebels--whose freewheeling ideas collided with the carnage of World War I and the repressive atmosphere of the postwar Red Scare."--Ron Chernow, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Alexander Hamilton

"Jeremy McCarter's gripping exploration of what drives young people toward revolutionary acts, in even the most desperate days, could not be more relevant to our current political moment."--Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author of All the Single Ladies

"Engaging, thought-provoking, and wonderfully intimate, this book should inspire artists, writers, activists, and anyone who values peace and justice in a time of conflict and war."--Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy

"Young Radicals is a highly dramatic, beautiful, and precise story of incredibly brave young people encountering bigotry, greed, ignorance, fear, and murderous rage, all the usual enemies of hope, decency, generosity of spirit, clarity, and courage of thought."--Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angels in America and Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Lincoln

About the Author


Jeremy McCarter is the co-author with Lin-Manuel Miranda of the #1 New York Times bestseller Hamilton: The Revolution. He has written about culture and politics for New York, Newsweek, The New York Times, and Buzzfeed. He spent five years on the artistic staff of the Public Theater in New York. He studied history at Harvard and lives in Chicago.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780812993059
ISBN-10: 0812993055
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 400
Language: English