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Books for changing the world
The Bending Cross
A Biography of Eugene Victor Debs

Let the people take heart and hope everywhere, for the cross is bending, the midnight is passing, and joy cometh with the morning. —Eugene Debs in 1918

Orator, organizer, self-taught scholar, presidential candidate, and prisoner, Eugene Debs’ lifelong commitment to the fight for a better world is chronicled in this unparalleled biography by historian Ray Ginger. This moving story presents the definitive account of the life and legacy of the most eloquent spokesperson and leader of the U.S. labor and socialist movements.

With a new introduction by Mike Davis.


  • “"The best biography of Eugene Debs yet published….A valuable contribution to the history of American political and economic radicalism.”
    ——American Historical Review


    ——Michael Harrington


    “"The Bending Cross offers us an old-fashioned—and, yes, incorrigibly romantic—ethos for activism; an antidote to jaded postmodernist cynicism, made compelling and coherent by the example of Debs’s own life. It is ironic that the Socialist leader was imprisoned for ‘disloyalty,’ since what most distinguished Debs was his moral steadfastness and unbreakable loyalty to the labor movement.”
    ——Mike Davis, from the Introduction


    "The Bending Cross is a beautiful and important book, even after all these years and the further accumulation of scholarship on the life of Eugene V. Debs. Ray Ginger, a socialist scholar of the heart as well as the mind, captured the real Debs. Hurrah for this reprinting!"
    —Paul Buhle, co-scriptwriter of Eugene V..Debs: A Graphic Biography