Alvah Bessie Critical Essays


Alvah Bessie 1904–

American novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, critic, editor, screenwriter, and translator.

Bessie draws on his own experiences for the material in his major works, which often deal with the problems of a capitalistic society. His most memorable book, Men in Battle, concerns the International Brigades, with whom he served during the Spanish Civil War. While a screenwriter in 1947, Bessie appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities; he was sentenced to a year in prison and blacklisted by the movie industry. He became known as one of the Hollywood Ten.

His recently published novel, One for My Baby, depicts nightclub life during the 1950s and the stand-up comics whose social criticism influenced the social, sexual, and political awareness of the 1960s and 1970s.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 5-8, rev. ed. and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 2.)