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Howard Fast

Full Name: Howard Fast
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York City
Born: 1914-11-11
Died: 2003-03-12
Number of Works: 95
Howard Melvin Fast (11 November 1914, New York City - 12 March 2003, Old Greenwich, Connecticut) was a Jewish American novelist and television writer, who wrote also under the pen names E. V. Cunningham and Walter Ericson.
His mother, Karen (née Miller), was a British Jewish immigrant and his father, BJohn Howard Fast, the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. When his mother died in 1923 and his father became unemployed, Howard's youngest brother, Julius, went to live with relatives, while Howard and his older brother Jerome worked by selling newspapers. He credited his early voracious reading to his part-time job in the New York Public Library.

Young Howard began writing at an early age. While hitchhiking and riding railroads around the country to find odd jobs, he wrote. His first novel, Two Valleys, was published when he was 18, in 1933. His first popular work was Citizen Tom Paine, a fictional account of the life of Thomas Paine. Always interested in American history, he also wrote The Last Frontier, about an attempt by Cheyennes to return to their native land; and Freedom Road, about the lives of former slaves during Reconstruction.

Fast spent World War II working with the United States Office of War Information, writing for Voice of America. But he had joined the Communist Party USA in 1944, and was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He refused to disclose the names of contributors to a fund for a home for orphans of American veterans of the Spanish Civil War (one of the contributors was Eleanor Roosevelt), and he was imprisoned for three months in 1950 for contempt of Congress.

It was while he was in jail that Fast began writing his most famous work, Spartacus, a novel about an uprising among Roman slaves. Blacklisted for his Communist activities and his criminal record, Fast was forced to publish the novel by his own Blue Heron Press. Unable to publish under his own name, he used various pseudonyms, including E.V. Cunningham, under which he published a series of popular detective novels starring a Nisei detective with the Beverly Hills, California Police Department.

In 1952, Fast ran for Congress on the American Labor Party ticket. During the 1950s he also worked for the Communist newspaper, the Daily Worker. In 1953, he was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. But, later in the decade, Fast broke with the Party over issues of conditions in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

In the mid-1950s, Fast moved with his family to Teaneck, New Jersey.[1]

Shortly afterward, Fast wrote April Morning, an account of the Battle of Lexington and Concord from the perspective of a fictional teenager. While not originally intended as a "young adult" novel, it has become a frequent assignment in American secondary schools and is probably thus his most popular work in the early 21st century. A film version was made for television in 1988.

In 1974, Fast and his family moved to California, where he wrote television scripts, including such television programs as How the West Was Won. In 1977, he published The Immigrants, the first of a six-part series of novels.

He married his first wife, Bette Cohen, on June 6, 1937. Their children are Jonathan and Rachel. Bette died in 1994. In 1999 he married Mercedes O'Connor, who had already three sons.

Fast's son Jonathan Fast, himself a novelist, was the husband of novelist Erica Jong, their daughter is the novelist Molly Jong-Fast.


ISBN: 0553273221, 9780553273229
Keywords: morning, april
Pages: 208
Published: 1961
  • Rating: 60%

When you read this novel about April 19, 1775, you will see the British redcoats marching in a solid column through your town. Your hands will be sweating and you will shake a little as you grip your musket because never have you shot with the aim of killing a man. But you will shoot, and shoot again and again while your shoulder aches from your musket's kick and the tight, disciplined red column bleeds and wavers and breaks and you begin to shout at the top of your lungs because you are there, at the birth of freedom—you're a veteran of the Battle of Lexington, and you've hel
ISBN: 0156005123, 9780156005128
Keywords: family, lavette, immigrants
Pages: Unknown
Published: 1977
  • Rating: 80%
ISBN: 1563244403, 9781563244407
Keywords: road, freedom
Pages: 294
Published: 1944
  • Rating: 80%

The tale of a Southern black who became a congressman during the Reconstruction period that followed the American Civil War. This edition also contains primary source documents from the Reconstruction.
ISBN: 0515124281, 9780515124286
Keywords: woman, independent
Pages: 350
Published: 1997
  • Rating: 80%

Finally, the long-awaited novel that brings readers back to the world of The Immigrants--a deeply moving story that follows wealthy matriarch Barbara Lavette as she travels the world, finds true love...and faces the most difficult challenge of her life.
ISBN: 051702957X, 9780517029572
Keywords: legacy
Pages: Unknown
Published: 1981
  • Rating: 80%
ISBN: 080213064X, 9780802130648
Keywords: paine, tom, citizen
Pages: 341
Published: 1943
  • Rating: 60%

<DIV>Among Howard Fast's historical fiction, Citizen Tom Paine-one of America's all-time best-sellers-occupies a special place, for it restored to a generation of readers the vision of Paine's revolutionary passion as the authentic roots of our national beginnings. Fast gives us "a vivid picture of Paine's mode of writing, idiosyncrasies, and character-generous, nobly unselfish, moody, often dirty, frequently drunken, a revolutionist by avocation"-Library Journal </div>