Govard Fast

Govard Fast

American writer
Country: USA

  1. Howard Fast: An American Writer and Activist
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Writing Career and Political Shift
  4. Later Life and Legacy

Howard Fast: An American Writer and Activist

Howard Fast, an American writer and social activist, was born on November 11, 1914, in New York City. Despite his humble beginnings in a poor Jewish family, Fast rose to become a renowned and celebrated American author. He wrote extensively on various social and political issues, and his works left a lasting impact on American literature.

Govard Fast

Early Life and Career

Fast grew up in the Jewish quarter of New York City and began working at a young age to support his family. He started as a newspaper delivery boy and later took on various jobs, including working in a tobacco factory, a hat shop, and a meat store. However, he never gave up on his passion for literature and spent every spare moment in libraries, expanding his knowledge.

Govard Fast

At the age of 17, Fast had his first story published, marking the beginning of his writing career. He joined the John Reed Club, an organization closely associated with the Communist Party USA, as he was drawn to the ideas of communism. In the 1930s, the communist ideology gained popularity in America, and Fast was among many intellectuals and artists who embraced it.

During World War II, Fast worked as a war correspondent for the Voice of America radio station. He traveled to Europe, North Africa, and India, reporting on the war and its impact. His experiences during this time, including witnessing the artificially induced famine in India and the liberation of prisoners from German concentration camps, deeply influenced his writing.

Writing Career and Political Shift

Fast gained widespread recognition with the publication of his novels "The Last Frontier," "Freedom Road," and "Citizen Tom Paine," which are now considered exemplary works of American patriotic literature. However, his most famous novel, "Spartacus," became the basis for the renowned film starring Kirk Douglas. Fast's writing often explored themes of social and racial injustice, drawing from his own experiences and the events happening around him.

Fast's association with the Communist Party continued until 1957 when he left the party after the publication of Nikita Khrushchev's secret report on the crimes of Joseph Stalin. In his book, "The Naked God," Fast renounced his communist beliefs and criticized the policies of the Soviet Union. This marked a significant shift in Fast's political views, leading to his estrangement from the Communist Party.

Later Life and Legacy

In the following years, Fast focused on writing extensively about Jewish history and the lives of Jews in America. His works, including "My Glorious Brothers" and "The Immigrants," explored the struggles and triumphs of Jewish immigrants in America. Fast also developed an interest in Zen Buddhism and incorporated its teachings into his later works.

Fast's most significant literary achievement was his six-volume series, often referred to as the "California Saga." This epic chronicle traced the lives of three generations of immigrant families in Northern California, from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to the end of the 20th century. The series received critical acclaim and is often recommended as essential reading for those new to the English language.

Howard Fast passed away on March 12, 2003, at the age of 89 in Greenwich, Connecticut. Despite his many accomplishments, he believed there were still unwritten books inside him. Fast's legacy as an influential writer and activist continues to inspire readers around the world, and his works remain a testament to his commitment to social justice and human rights.