by Emanuel Fried
White Pine Press (NY)
A union organizer in Buffalo, Fried was subpoenaed to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1954. He refused to answer any questions--not invoking the Fifth Amendment, but bravely challenging the Committee's right to exist. He recounts the drama of those days in an overlong autobiographical novel he wrote in 1954, but decided to publish only after his wife died. While the book may appeal to specialists in labor and McCarthy-era history, it is too detailed and melodramatic for the general reader. It focuses on the strains in Danny Newman's (read: Fried's) marriage to a woman from a prominent local family; she and her relatives do not want him to sacrifice his family at the altar of his ideals. More interesting are Fried's descriptions of the link between local anti-union businessmen and the Committee, the support he received from local union officials and his guarded dealings with red-baiters in the press. Fried currently teaches creative writing at Buffalo College.