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Freeman, Joseph


FREEMAN, JOSEPH (1897–1965), U.S. author, critic, and journalist. Freeman was taken to the U.S. from the Ukraine as a boy of seven. After his graduation in 1919, he joined the editorial staff of Harper's Illustrated History of the World War, but in the following year moved to Paris, where he worked for the Chicago Tribune, subsequently representing both the Tribune and the New York Daily News in London. In 1922 he returned to New York, where he used his journalistic talents in support of socialism, working first for The Liberator and later also for the Partisan Review. In 1926 he helped to found the monthly New Masses. He first represented the periodical in Moscow, and at various times during the 1930s was its editor. Freeman and Michael *Gold were the two outstanding American writers of the Left during the years preceding World War ii. Free-man's works include Dollar Diplomacy: A Study in American Imperialism (1925), a radical assessment of U.S. foreign policy written in collaboration with S. Nearing; Voices of October: Art and Literature in Soviet Russia (1930), with J. Kunitz and L. Lozowick; and The Soviet Worker (1932). His autobiography, An American Testament: A Narrative of Rebels and Romantics (1936), is one of the most valuable source books on the radicalliterary politics of his time. Under the stress of the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939 Freeman finally broke with the Communists. He later published two novels, Never Call Retreat (1943), which dealt with the frustrations of a political refugee, and The Long Pursuit (1947), set in postwar occupied Germany.


D. Aaron, Writers on the Left (1961), 68–90, 119–48, 365–75; S.J. Kunitz, Twentieth Century Authors, first supplement (1955), s.v.; New York Times (Aug. 11, 1965), 35. add. bibliography: J. Bloom, Left Letters: The Culture Wars of Mike Gold and Joseph Freeman (1992).

[Milton Henry Hindus]

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