Let Them Tremble: Biographical Interventions Marking 100 Years of the Communist Party, USA is a collection of six biographies exploring unique and often neglected aspects of the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA). Each biographical intervention explores a specific CPUSA leader’s life, work, and times and places them within political and historical context. The goal of these interventions is not to tell a complete story, to paint a complete picture; intimate knowledge of personal lives and relationships is not the goal and is largely absent. Rather, the goal is for each biography to tell a partial political story, a story that emphasizes topical aspects of the Party’s ongoing work, especially in the post-1956 period.
The interventions collectively span the bulk of the Party’s history, not just the so-called Heyday, Popular Front, McCarthy or Old Left periods. Special emphasis is placed on Party activity and analysis in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, up to the Party’s centennial. The biographical interventions constituting this project are a sincere attempt to add some nuance and complexity, to explore a neglected period of communist activity in U.S. history, and thereby add knowledge, breadth and depth to the study of U.S. radicalism in the 20th century.