Caldwell, ID: The Caxton Printers, 1936. First Edition. Excellent copy of the Oklahoma author's first book, a highly autobiographical novel depicting the coming of age of a young man in a Kansas Mennonite community. Friesen broke sharply from his own religious upbringing; during work on the Oklahoma Writers Project (where he formed a life-long friendship with the noted pulp author Jim Thompson) he became radicalized, joined the Communist Party, and broke ties with his family and his Mennonite roots. He would go on, with his partner Agnes "Sis" Cunningham, to edit and publish the long-running and highly influential folk music journal Broadside which, despite a tiny circulation, remained in print until the late 1980s. Flamethrowers, his first book, is a forgotten high-spot of Oklahoma fiction and one of relatively few American novels to deal critically with the Mennonite faith. Despite critical praise upon publication the book sold very poorly; collection-worthy copies are notably uncommon. HANNA 1326. Large octavo (24cm). Red cloth boards, stamped in black on spine and front; dustjacket; 490pp. Apparently an advance copy, signed and dated by Friesen in year of publication, with signed publicity photo and publisher's promotional bookmark laid in. A tight, Near Fine copy, slightly dulled on page edges, in a crisp, unclipped example of the original pictorial dustwrapper, with a few small nicks to extremities else Near Fine. (Inventory #: 30338)
The history, literature, and art of American social movements, including Civil Rights, Feminism, Labor History, Radical Politics, and Counterculture.
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