The first full authoritative biography of Dorothy Day, American icon, radical pacifist, Catholic convert, and activist whom Pope Francis I compared to Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.
After a middle-class Republican childhood and a few years as a Communist sympathizer, Dorothy Day converted to Catholicism and became an anomaly in American life for almost fifty years. As an orthodox Catholic, political radical, and a rebel who courted controversy, she attracted three generations of admirers. Day went to jail challenging the draft and the war in Vietnam. She was critical of capitalism and foreign policy, and as skeptical of modern liberalism as political conservatism.
Her protests began in 1917, leading to her arrest during the suffrage demonstration outside President Wilson’s White House. In 1940 she spoke in Congress against the draft and urged young men not to register. She frequented jail throughout the 1950s protesting the nuclear arms race. She told audiences in 1962 that President Kennedy was as much to blame for the Cuban missile crisis. She refused to hear any criticism of the pope, though she sparred with American bishops and priests who lived in well-appointed rectories and tolerated racial segregation in their parishes.
Dorothy Day is the exceptional biography of a dedicated modern-day pacifist, the most outspoken advocate for the poor, and a lifelong anarchist. This definitive and insightful account explores the influence this controversial and yet “sainted” woman still has today.
John Loughery is the author of three previous books, Alias S. S. Van Dine; John Sloan: Painter and Rebel; and The Other Side of Silence: Men’s Lives and Gay Identities, a Twentieth Century History, the last two of which were New York Times Notable Books. His biography of John Sloan was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. He lives in New York.
Blythe Randolph is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of previous biographies of Amelia Earhart and of Charles Lindbergh. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three rescue dogs.
“Dorothy Day was a passionate, stubborn, and iconoclastic woman, and she lived one of the most fascinating, perplexing, and humbling lives of any American in the last century. Loughery and Randolph tell her story well, comprehensively, and fairly. In fundamental and prophetic ways, Day anticipated the current dismaying trajectory of American politics and culture. This is essential reading for our times.”—Paul Baumann, editor of Commonweal from 2003-2018
“Loughery and Randolph have pulled off a miracle here: weaving the contradictory strands of Dorothy Day’s life—from hard-drinking, free-loving bohemian to ascetic Catholic activist—into one compelling narrative. The result is a surprisingly intimate history of 20th century American radicalism—and a timely reminder that, for some Christians, religion was and remains a moral obligation to serve poorest of the poor.”—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
“A religious voice for the disadvantaged, a pacifist revolutionary, a critical patriot--Dorothy Day was a figure who defied easy categorization. In this searching portrait of dissent and the promise of American politics, Loughery and Randolph reintroduce a twentieth-century activist who stands as a model for what principled, moral engagement might yet become.”—Charles King, author of Gods of the Upper Air and Midnight at the Pera Palace
“Vigorously researched and vividly written, Loughery and Randolph have gifted us with the many lives and enduring legacy of Dorothy Day—radical Catholic activist for peace, justice, dignity—housing, respect, food for the homeless and hungry. This is an inspirational book most needed now: Imagine our global future committed to hope healing love! No borders, no boundaries, no walls.”— Blanche Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt, volumes I, II, III
"Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century is a crucial book for today. Day's story is fascinating and ennobling, and is told brilliantly by John Loughery and Blythe Randolph. Day's fearless crusade for the poor is more relevant than ever in our age of billionaires."—Dan Wakefield, author of New York in the Fifties
“Full of paradoxes and enigmas, Dorothy Day has found the sensitive and thorough biographers she deserves. Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century is a readable, well-researched account of a major American figure. Now we see the full range and importance of Day’s life.”—Jean Baker, author of Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion
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