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Max Eastman

Just acquired this beautiful, autographed image of Max Eastman, inscribed to one Jeanie Wainwright. Eastman (1883-1969), the prolific radical, poet, editor, translator, and friend of Trotsky, is the subject of my new biography-in-progress. Eastman, who helped found the Men's League for Women's Suffrage and edited the radical magazine "The Masses," grew disenchanted with Stalin and supported Trotsky, with whom he collaborated on several books. In the 1940s, he renounced his radical past and began to embrace some form of free-market economics, although he would continue to warn against reactionary forces in American conservatism, whose religious overtones Eastman, the son of two ministers and a life-long atheist, always lamented. His life leads us from upstate New York to Greenwich Village to Stalin's Russia and then back to New York again, a wild romp through the first half of the 20th century. Eastman knew everybody, from Charlie Chaplin (with whom he shared one of his lovers) and Isadora Duncan (whose adopted daughter Lisa he seduced) to Trotsky, Sigmund Freud, and Pablo Casals. When his former leftist friends criticized him, he invariably responded that while the times had changed, his opinions on art, life, and society never had.

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