The World Above

Author: Abraham Polonsky
Introduction by Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner
Paper – $24
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1999
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About the Book

Abraham Polonsky is perhaps best known for his film work: director of the motion picture Force of Evil, for which he wrote the screen play with Ira Wolfert from Wolfert's novel Tucker's People, and screenwriter for Academy Award nominee Body and Soul. The World Above, his third and most celebrated novel, was originally published the year before Polonsky was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. This brilliantly original novel follows psychologist Carl Myers as he progresses from a purely objective interest in scientific problems to a profound concern with the human implications of those problems. As he becomes disenchanted with friends and colleagues, the pull of class and family loyalties, first toward his union-organizer brother and then toward his brother's widow, offers him another way to see the world and to live in it.

A sweeping historical novel rich in psychological insights, The World Above reveals the legacy of the 1930s for the war years and the McCarthy era. At the same time it explores the personal impact of hard political reality with which Polonsky himself has been so well acquainted.


"A first-rate psychological study which, at its best, is as pleasurable to read as the richest moments in any novel by James, Keller, or Mann. . . . Polonsky's incredible gift as a writer is reflected in the way his narrative ties together the various threads of Carl's intellectual development while intimately relating these, both psychologically and historically, to the unfolding of actual events in Carl's life." — William Scott, Modern Language Notes