April 30, 2003
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.- In her new book, The Last Revolutionaries: German Communists and Their Century ($29.95, 352 pp., Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2002), Catherine Epstein, an assistant professor of history at Amherst College, tells the story of German communism through a collective biography of eight longtime communists. Epstein will read from The Last Revolutionaries and discuss her work at the Jeffrey Amherst bookstore in Amherst on Saturday, May 3 at 1p.m.
These German communists were political outcasts before 1933 in the Weimar Republic, courageous resisters in Nazi Germany and finally dictators of the German Democratic Republic until swept from power in 1989. The Last Revolutionaries include the successful East German leaders Walter Ulbricht and Erich Honecker. But others, such as Franz Dahlem and Karl Schirdewan, suffered in East German purges. Epstein also writes about female and Jewish communists who faced their own sets of difficulties in the movement. The Last Revolutionaries relates the hopes, fears, dreams and disappointments of the most enduring and influential generation of Central European communists.
Epstein has taught at Amherst College since 2000. Before coming to Amherst, she taught at Stanford University and Mount Holyoke College. She earned her Ph.D. in history at Harvard University. She has previously published A Past Renewed: A Catalog of German-Speaking Refugee Historians in the United States after 1933 (1993).