Irwin Granich Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Michael Gold was born on the lower East Side of New York City and grew up there as Irwin Granich. His parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe. When he joined the Communist Party, he renamed himself Michael Gold after, he said, a Jewish Civil War veteran who lived in his neighborhood. Even after he joined the party, Gold, unlike many of his fellow Communists, never tried to hide his Jewishness. In articles like “The Gun Is Loaded, Dreiser” (1935) and in the introduction to Jews Without Money, he positioned himself as a spokesperson for Jews in the United States and repeatedly spoke out against anti-Semitism.{$S[A]Granich, Irwin;Gold, Michael}

Gold’s outstanding work is his only novel, Jews Without Money, a classic treatment of the Jewish immigrant experience in the United States. The book became a best-seller. He also contributed to American literature, especially of the 1920’s and 1930’s, as a short-story writer, editor, and critic. He was an active, committed member of the American Communist Party for most of his adult life. He remained in the party through the period of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, a nonaggression treaty signed on August 23, 1939, and broken on June 22, 1941, when Germany attacked Russia. During this time, many intellectuals and artists, especially Jewish ones, left the party. Gold, however, became an outspoken apologist for the pact, insisting that it helped the Jews of Eastern Europe. During the 1950’s, he was, he said, a little disturbed by the revelations of Joseph Stalin’s anti-Semitism but still remained in the party until his death in 1967.

According to Gold, he became a...

(The entire section is 673 words.)