Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Paul Buhle  

Pen Name: None


Born: September 27, 1944 in Champaign, Illinois



Illinois Connection

Paul Buhle was born in Champaign, Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1966.

Biographical and Professional Information

Paul Buhle is a Senior Lecturer at Brown University. He is the co-author of four books on the history of the Hollywood Blacklist and the editor of a series of graphic non-fiction works by American comics artists and writers, among them Harvey Pekar, Sabrina Jones and Sharon Rudahl.Buhle is also the authorized biographer of C. L. R. James.Paul Buhle currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Marxism in the United States of America: 1870 to the Present Day
ISBN: 0860911411

Verso Books. 1987

C.L.R.James: The Artist as Revolutionary
ISBN: 0860912213

Verso Books. 1988

C.L.R. James is one of the twentieth century&rsquo

s most remarkable individuals. As the author of the influential book The Black Jacobins, he is widely recognized as the premier scholar of slave revolt

the publication of his acute and sensitive volume Beyond a Boundary 

established an equal reputation as a historian of sport

and his tireless political and intellectual interventions have become the hallmark of a highly creative Marxist thinker, a brilliant dialectician and the last surviving pioneer of Pan-African liberation.


s work has never previously been studied in its entirety. Now Paul Buhle, a longtime editorial collaborator with James, has produced a rich and informed analysis of his accomplishments. Drawing upon extensive interviews with James, his critics and his erstwhile supporters, together with many previously unpublished documents, Buhle&rsquo

s book offers an appreciative and enlightening portrait of the man and his times. The author also sheds new light on subjects ranging across Pan-Africanism, West Indian literature, British and American Marxism and the rise of third world nationalism.

William Appleman Williams: The Tragedy of Empire (American Radicals)
ISBN: 0415911311

Routledge. 1995

Williams' controversial volumes, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, Contours of American History, and other works have established him as the foremost interpreter of US foreign policy. Both Williams and others deeply influenced by him have recast not only diplomatic history but also the story of pioneer America's westward movement, and studies in the culture of imperialism.

At the end of the Cold War, when the US no longer faces any great enemy, the lessons of William Appleman Williams' life and scholarship have become more urgent than ever before. This study of his life and major works offers readers an opportunity to introduce, or re-introduce, themselves to a major figure of the last half-century.

Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist
ISBN: 0312170467

St Martins Pr. 1997

More than thirty survivors of the blacklisting that took place in Hollywood in the late 1940s share their stories, in a study that includes interviews with Ring Lardner, Jr., and Martin Ritt, the director of The Front. 15,000 first printing.

A Very Dangerous Citizen: Abraham Lincoln Polonsky and the Hollywood Left
ISBN: 0520223837

University of California Press. 2001

When he was summoned before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1951, Abraham Lincoln Polonsky (1911-1999) was labeled "a very dangerous citizen" by Harold Velde, a congressman from Illinois. Lawyer, educator, novelist, labor organizer, radio and television scriptwriter, film director and screenwriter, wartime intelligence operative, and full-time radical romantic, Polonsky was blacklisted in Hollywood for refusing to be an informer. The New York Times called his blacklisting the single greatest loss to American film during the McCarthy era, and his expressed admirers include Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Warren Beatty, and Harry Belafonte. In this first critical and cultural biography of Abraham Polonsky, Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner present both an accomplished consideration of a remarkable survivor of America's cultural cold war and a superb study of the Hollywood left.

The Bronx-born son of immigrant parents, Polonsky—in the few years after the end of World War II and just before the blacklist—had one of the most distinguished careers in Hollywood. He wrote two films that established John Garfield's postwar persona, Body and Soul (1947), still the standard for boxing films and the model for such movies as Raging Bull and Pulp Fiction

and Force of Evil (1948), the great noir drama that he also directed. Once blacklisted, Polonsky quit working under his own name, yet he proved to be one of television's most talented writers. Later in life he became the most acerbic critic of the Hollywood blacklist's legacy while writing and directing films such as Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1970).

A Very Dangerous Citizen goes beyond biography to help us understand the relationship between art and politics in American culture and to uncover the effects of U.S. anticommunism and anti-Semitism. Rich in anecdote and in analysis, it provides an informative and entertaining portrait of one of the most intriguing personalities of twentieth-century American culture.

Radical Hollywood: The Untold Story Behind America's Favorite Movies
ISBN: 1565848195

The New Press. 2003

Radical Hollywood is the first comprehensive history of the Hollywood Left. From the dawn of sound movies to the early 1950s, Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner trace the political and personal lives of the screenwriters, actors, directors, and producers on the Left and the often decisive impact of their work upon American film’s Golden Age.

Full of rich anecdotes, biographical detail, and explorations of movies well known, unjustly forgotten, and delightfully bizarre, the book is “an intelligent, well argued and absorbing examination of how politics and art can make startling and often strange bedfellows” (Publishers Weekly). Featuring an insert of rare film stills, Radical Hollywood relates the story behind the story of films in such genres as crime, women’s films, family cinema, war, animation, and, particularly, film noir.

Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland, and the Tragedy of American Labor
ISBN: 1583670033

Monthly Review Press. 1999

In this original, colorful history of "business unionism," Paul Buhle explains how trade union leaders in the United States became remote from the workers they claimed to represent as they allied with the very corporate executives and government officials who persistently opposed labor's interests.

At the center of the tale are three of the most powerful labor leaders of the past century: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, and Lane Kirkland, successive presidents of the American Federation of Labor and its descendent, the AFL-CIO. Many other labor leaders, from John L. Lewis to Walter Reuther, receive in-depth treatment.

Taking Care of Business demonstrates how a union hierarchy heavily populated by former radicals thwarted women and people of color from joining unions, suppressed shop floor militance, and colluded with business and government at home and abroad. Buhle shows how these leaders defeated generations of radical union members who sought a more democratic, class-based approach for the movement.

Insurgent Images: The Agitprop Murals of Mike Alewitz
ISBN: 1583670343

Monthly Review Press. 2002

"Mike Alewitz's art has given eloquent voice to the aspirations of working people throughout the world."
—Martin Sheen

The most prolific U.S. labor muralist since the 1940s, Alewitz illuminates the hidden spaces where connections between the U.S. workforce and its extended relatives across the planet are to be found.

Insurgent Images contains murals for the Teamsters, the Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers, the Communications Workers, United Electrical Workers, the United Farm Workers, as well as the Highlander Folk School and other labor institutions. Other works respond to dramatic events such as the 1984 strike of P-9 workers in Austin, Minnesota, the 1991 rebellion in Los Angeles, and the tragedy at Chernobyl. Altogether, this collection presents an inspiring artistic reading of our epoch.

Blacklisted: The Film Lover's Guide to the Hollywood Blacklist
ISBN: 140396145X

Palgrave Macmillan. 2003

Buhle and Wagner have put together the definitive guide to the films, directors, stars, writers, designers, producers and anyone else who was blacklisted by Joseph McCarthy during the notorious Hollywood blacklist era. In over 2000 entries, film lovers get every piece of information they could ever want. Covering such films as Roman Holiday and Bridge on the River Kwai and linking them up with the men and women involved, Blacklisted becomes the ultimate film lover's guide to Hollywood's darkest days.

Hide in Plain Sight: The Hollywood Blacklistees in Film and Television, 1950-2002
ISBN: 1403966842

St. Martin's Griffin. 2005

Hide in Plain Sight offers a powerful examination of the effects of Hollywood's blacklist era, taking up the question of how blacklistees fared after they were driven out of the mainstream. A good number entered careers in television, with many finding work in children's and family programs, writing for shows like Rocky and Bullwinkle, Lassie, and Flipper. Many also wrote adult sitcoms such as Hogan's Heroes,The Donna Reed Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, M*A*S*H, Maude, and All in the Family. Ultimately, many returned to Hollywood in the sixties and seventies to work creatively on films that contained a dose of the radical politics found in communism, films that influenced the creative outburst of that decade. The list of impressive films from the survivors of HUAC includes Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Midnight Cowboy. Hide in Plain Sight completes Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner's trilogy, which includes Tender Comrades (1998) and Radical Hollywood (2002). Together these books provide a thorough and disturbing portrait of the McCarthy era's impact on an important aspect of American culture and society.

Tim Hector A Caribbean Radical's Story
ISBN: 9766372802

Ian Randle Publishers. 2006

The path from that now distant past of conquest and contest depopulation and repopulation slavery and its world-changing profits, the creation of colonial institutions and popular uprising against them, independence and the penetration of neo-colonialism into the very fabric of Caribbean being is the background of this book.

A People's History of American Empire: The American Empire Project, A Graphic Adaptation
ISBN: 0805087443

Metropolitan Books. 2008

Adapted from the bestselling grassroots history of the United States, the story of America in the world, told in comics form

Since its landmark publication in 1980, A People's History of the United States has had six new editions, sold more than 1.7 million copies, become required classroom reading throughout the country, and been turned into an acclaimed play. More than a successful book, A People's History triggered a revolution in the way history is told, displacing the official versions with their emphasis on great men in high places to chronicle events as they were lived, from the bottom up.

Now Howard Zinn, historian Paul Buhle, and cartoonist Mike Konopacki have collaborated to retell, in vibrant comics form, a most immediate and relevant chapter of A People's History: the centuries-long story of America's actions in the world. Narrated by Zinn, this version opens with the events of 9/11 and then jumps back to explore the cycles of U.S. expansionism from Wounded Knee to Iraq, stopping along the way at World War I, Central America, Vietnam, and the Iranian revolution. The book also follows the story of Zinn, the son of poor Jewish immigrants, from his childhood in the Brooklyn slums to his role as one of America's leading historians.

Shifting from world-shattering events to one family's small revolutions, A People's History of American Empire presents the classic ground-level history of America in a dazzling new form.


-- American Library Association awards for edited works: CLR James' Caribbean and The New Left Revistited