Fast, Howard

Fast, Howard,

1914–2003, American author, b. New York City. A prolific writer, he is best known for historical novels that mainly concern rebellion against various forms of tyranny. They include Citizen Tom Payne (1943), Freedom Road (1944), My Glorious Brothers (1948), Spartacus (1951), and April Morning (1961). Among his later novels is a lengthy multivolume, multigenerational family saga set in San Francisco: The Immigrants (1977), Second Generation (1978), The Establishment (1979), The Legacy (1981), The Immigrant's Daughter (1985), and An Independent Woman (1997). His last works of fiction include the novels Redemption (1999) and Greenwich (2000). From 1943 to 1956, Fast was a member of the American Communist party. He served a prison term (1950) for refusing to cooperate with the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and his books were purged from American school libraries; in 1953 he was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. The Naked God (1957) is an account of Fast's political experiences, and the memoir Being Red (1990) further explores the issues involved. He also wrote essays, science fiction, short stories, biographies, screenplays, poetry, and mysteries (many under the name E. V. Cunningham).


See biography by G. Sorin (2012); A. Macdonald, Howard Fast: A Critical Companion (1996).

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Fast, Howard (Melvin)

(1914–  ) writer; born in New York City. As a professional writer after 1932, he became a leading proponent of left-wing views. He was blacklisted for a decade for his Communist Party membership (1944–1956), but in 1957 he declared his disenchantment with the Communism of Stalin in The Naked God. Of his dozens of novels, children's books, biographies, and plays he was best known for his historical novels, including Freedom Road (1944), Spartacus (1952), and The Immigrants (1977).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.