Telling the story of a slave revolt in ancient Rome, the 1960 film Spartacus was penned by two blacklisted Communist writers. Its arrival in theaters was a middle finger to the McCarthyist witch hunt in Hollywood and publishing.
Taylor Dorrell is a writer and photographer based in Columbus, Ohio. He’s a contributing writer at the Cleveland Review of Books, a reporter for the Columbus Free Press, and a freelance photographer.
Mike Gold was a pioneer of proletarian literature and once one of America’s best-known writers. But his refusal to capitulate to McCarthy-era blackmail saw him written out of history.
In 1925, Russian communist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky toured the Midwest, visiting Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, reciting his revolutionary and romantic poetry. His reflections on his visit combine amazement and disgust at industrial modernity.
One of the Cuban Revolution’s most colorful characters was William Morgan, a former circus performer from Toledo, Ohio, who became a commander in the rebel forces. But Morgan’s final act was his most brazen: he became a counterrevolutionary for the CIA.