A Man Without Shoes

A Man Without Shoes

by John Sanford

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Written between 1943 and 1946, A Man Without Shoes – an epic novel of the immigrant experience in America – was finally self-published in 1951 after over 30 rejections. As Sanford explained 'in 1947, it was a new kind of cold altogether: McCarthyism, it was called, and hard weather was no longer on the way, -it was here. For A Man Without Shoes, the sixteen seasons of the next four years were all of them winter. During that period, the book was submitted to some thirty publishers, and thirty-some times it was declined.'
The novel was considered too politically radical and leftist for the mainstream publishers at the dawn of the McCarthy era.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781448213252
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 09/12/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 452
Sales rank: 659,965
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

John B. Sanford was born Julian Lawrence Shapiro in Harlem, New York in 1904 to Jewish
parents; his father was a Russian immigrant and his mother a first-generation American. His mother died in 1914 when he was only 10, which would have a marked influence on his life.

A graduate of Lafayette College, Shapiro later studied law at Fordham University; after graduation he decided to follow the example of his childhood friend, Nathanael West, and concentrate on his writing.

In the summer of 1931, isolated in a log cabin in the Adirondacks, he finished his first novel, The Water Wheel. When Shapiro was close to publishing his second book, The Old Man's Place, West (born Weinstein), suggested he change his name to one less identifiably Jewish, for fear of
anti-Semitism damaging book sales. Shapiro became Sanford, and in 1935 the success of The Old Man's Place allowed him to move to Hollywood to try his hand as a screenwriter.

In 1936, Sanford was hired by Paramount Pictures, where he met his future wife Marguerite Roberts, also a screenwriter. In the same year, he became involved in the Communist Party of the United States – Roberts became a member after meeting Sanford, but was to hand her card back
in 1947. Nevertheless they were both called to testify before the House Un-American Activities
Committee, where they refused to give their names, invoking the Fifth Amendment. Along with many other Hollywood professionals, both Sanford and Roberts were blacklisted between 1951 and 1962, which effectively ended their Hollywood careers.

Sanford wrote half of his books after the age of 80; his 5-volume autobiography earned him a PEN/Faulkner Award and the Los Angeles Times Lifetime Achievement Award. He left three unpublished novels and was still writing up until a month before his death at 98 in 2003.

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