Introduction: America’s Three Great Crises and Three Lefts 1
1 Abolitionism and Racial Equality 16
2 The Popular Front and Social Equality 57
3 The New Left and Participatory Democracy 100
Conclusion: The American Left Today 159
"For those disenchanted citizens who have watched, open-mouthed, as America’s national politics have boon increasingly over-run with unabashed hypocrisy, this book will be a small current of fresh air showing the 'influence an intransigent minority can exert on a relatively passive majority'. Hopefully, this book will also be read as an impetus to serious political engagement and a return to participatory democracy in a post-Citizens United America."
LSE Politics Blog
"Eli Zaretsky's 1976 book Capitalism, the Family, and Personal Life had a major impact on my generation of feminist thinkers. Now, with Why America Needs a Left, he reaches out to a new generation of activists, offering a brilliant analysis of the role of radicals in keeping America true to its noblest vision of itself. Historically sweeping and open to all sources of insight from pop culture to political theory, this book is a great pleasure to read. It's also a brave and timely call to a fresh era of struggle for social and economic justice."
"An exciting and necessary book for anyone interested in the history and future of US politics. Eli Zaretsky has written a sophisticated essay on the significance of the US left, one which is, at the same time, alert to historical contingency and rich with empirical insights."
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
"Eli Zaretsky explores the historical relationship between the left and liberalism in the United States. While some historians dismiss the very notion of an American left, Zaretsky argues that it has made a profound impact on American political life."