Friday, August 23, 2013


 Louis Aamic's books were standard fare for literate Americans and Yugoslavs for several decades and then  abruptly, in the United States at least, read little after his death. This neglect in the United States was partly caused by the McCarthyism of the early 1950s. Adamic was dismissed as a lightweight popularizer, if not a "Red" propagandist. In recent years, however,interest in the man and his work has been quietly growing in both the United States and Yugoslavia.
 Adamic is of interest today for many reasons. Students of history, literature, and public policy on both sides of the Atlantic and finding Adamic an important figure. Much  current U.S. historical research into the 1930s and 1940s investigates the influence of ethnicity on politics and culture. More often than not, Adamic is found at the  junctures of this influence. He has been rediscovered as a  pioneer writer and patron of American ethnic literature;  meanwhile, in Yougoslavia his reputation continures to grow as a major force in modern Slovenian letters. His roles as meditator between "old-stock" and ethnic cultures in the United States as well as between the United States and Yugoslavia, is intriguing. Adamic's efforts as an ethnic leader and intellectual to influence both American and Yugoslav public policy also are arresting.
 In the United States, Adamic has received attention mostly  as an early prophet of the pluralistic America celebrated in the current ethnic revival. The ethnic movement of our time has a short memory. The editors of The Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (1981), for example, ackowledged that they were well along with their work before discovering that Adamic had proposed a similar project in My America (1938).
 In Yougoslavia, Adamic holds similar contemporary significance. There he is honored as an early friend and read as an outside witness to the creation of the New Yougoslavia, which is now moving into a post-Tito era. A measure of his reputation in his homeland is the recent publication of a large collection of his correspondence, the republication of The Eagle and the Roots, and the projected reprinting of most of his works with new scholarly introductions.

-SPECTRUM Immigration History Research Center--University of Minnesota



by Dr.Janja Zitnik

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...Let me mention just a few of Adamic's endeavors which have born fruit: organizing Slovene Americans and other south Slavs  for the purpose of providing material and political assistance to Yugoslavia; attempts aimed at the adoption of a more critical attitude by the Yugoslav party leaderships towards their own errors: pointing out the urgent need for a greater degree of democracy within the country; opening a way for Yugoslavia to rely on economic support from the USA; as well as the proposal for Yugoslavia to establish a close relationship with the non-aligned nations in order to achieve an active cooperation and peaceful coexistence between nations regardless of their social order....

   Today, when we look with a critical eye on the nearly fifty years of the Yugoslav socialist revolution as a part of the history of one-time Yugoslavia, we can safely conclude that Louis Adamic, as a well-informed observer acting from the side-lines, during his long lasting relationships with the most Yugoslav political leaders, held a much clearer and a more objective view of those particular drawbacks of the new political system during the first post-war period which at that time lent to the internal and foreign policies of the country a highly negative connotation. He persistently and on every available occasion tried to persuade Tito, Kardelj, Kidric, Dedijer and the permanent representatives of the Yugoslav legation in the US, to prevent certain flagrant misuses of material privileges by the Communist Party and state leadership, to stop the unacceptable use of official state property for personal benefit, to halt the undemocratic ways of informing the home and international media and ....

  Due to his direct criticism and uncompromising autonomy as a free writer, related to his last book on Yugoslavia, the Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav leadership, in the period between 1945-51, distanced itself from the writer and in a practical sense broke off its collaboration in the writing of this
book. This came as a great surprise and a blow to Adamic, who nevertheless tried to preserve his friendly  relationships with his former collaborators from  Yugoslavia. Despite it all Adamic, with his criticism and unrelenting stance towards his contemporaries, persisted  until his death with his radical views, as a sovereign advocate of peace, freedom and democracy.

                                                                                                            LJULJANA  1992


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