In the political era of the 1930s through the 1950s, the predominant antifascist Left is conventionally depicted as divided between pro-Soviet Communists and New Deal liberals. From that dualistic perspective, the once-popular Slovene American journalist, novelist, editor, and translator, Louis Adamic (1898–1951) was an exceedingly rare breed, practically a unicorn. According to historian John P. Enyeart’s absorbing political biography, liberals were “too wishy-washy” (6) for Adamic’s tastes and Communists were to be kept at arm’s length because they “would change direction whenever Moscow instructed them to do so” (44).

Adamic arrived in the United States at age fifteen, already a political veteran of the nationalist movement that had emerged in the South Slavic provinces of Austria-Hungary. He initially found work as a manual laborer in California and then served in combat in World War I before launching his career as a professional writer. His first books were in the genres...

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