PositiveJacobinThe Romance of American Comminism explores political engagement through the lens of “impulse, need, fear, doubt, and longing” — and Gornick’s prose drips with emotion ... In her new introduction to the reissue, Gornick herself is scathing of the book’s style ... Certainly the book’s tone is sometimes overwrought. Political commitment is depicted as an energy, a force, a passion ... There are endless flowerings and flourishings and flames, while Communists glow, irradiate and shine. Everything is always \'alive.\' But the profusion of metaphors come as much from Gornick’s interviewees as they do from her — and seem appropriate to the expansive affective experiences the book seeks to convey ... Gornick is adept at drawing out the contradictions inherent to her subject: the coexistence of collectivity and paranoia, solidarity and vindictiveness. The book counterposes an image of vibrant political consciousness with the kind of \'arid, dead\' jargon-spouting \'jerk who talks like the Little Lenin Library.\' This is a book about emotions full of emotional people who nonetheless struggle to talk explicitly about their emotions.