Carl Sandburg is most remembered as a biographer of Lincoln, as the author of such schoolroom poems as "Chicago" and "Fog", and as a popular culture hero who lent his name and fame to the political campaigns of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, and John F. Kennedy. One mid-century commentator called him America's "cultural sweetheart". Adlai Stevenson said he was the "epitome" of the American dream.
A Sandburg existed, however, who did not resemble the traditional portrait of him. During the first two decades of his long career, the "other Carl Sandburg" was deeply involved in left-wing politics. The Other Carl Sandburg emphasizes his involvement in the internal history of the American left, his early involvement with Bolshevism and with domestic politics of the Great War, and his hard-nosed, sometimes scurrilous journalism, written under his own name and various pseudonyms during the intense class warfare of the years from 1915 to 1920.
This study of the Sandburg few us of know is based on an extraordinary amount of research in government surveillance archives, in the Carl Sandburg Collection at the University of Illinois, and in labor histories, histories of American radicalism, and American literary history. Nearly two hundred magazines and newspaper articles written by Sandburg at this time, most never cited before, serve as a backdrop for placing his first three books of poetry in their appropriate context.
This refreshing new impression of the popular icon will allow readers to discover that the "other Carl Sandburg" was at times a prescient political commentator caught up in the heated, contradictory currents of the day and a far more interesting writerthan the avuncular poet so well known in traditional portraits.
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