A Socialist Defector

I highly recommend reading a new book by Victor Grossman / Stephen Wechsler called A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee.

Typical discussions of socialism in the United States run something like this:

A: Why can’t we have even the quality of lives that one sees in Scandinavia or, to various degrees, every wealthy country on earth that isn’t the United States?

B: North Korea!

A: No, seriously, why can’t we? If it were impossible, why would so many other countries be doing it for so many years?

B: Commies! Soviets! North F——- Korea!

A: Do you need help with that?

I think Victor Grossman might be able to help. Here’s someone who fled to East Germany rather than allowing himself to be sent to participate in mass murder in North Korea on behalf of the U.S. military. He lived in East Germany until it became part of a united Germany, and lives there still, and has been back to the United States.

Grossman (born Stephen Wechsler) offers an account of life in the United States, East Germany, and Germany that demonstrably promotes no label, no ideology, and no flag. His views are packed with humorous and insightful criticism of everybody and everything, as well as praise.

What may strike the reader as most novel is Grossman’s praise for the good that was lost when the Soviet Union ended and Germany reunited, even as it comes packaged together with severe criticism for the deep flaws that were thankfully set behind.

This is the sort of book least likely to make it into a tweet, yet — I propose — well worth reading nonetheless.




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