Guide to Noted Slovene-American Immigrant Author Louis Adamic and his Works Appealing To Your Hearts Minds Beyond Frontier, Nationality, Ideology, Race, Religion, Time and Space ... In this 'Borderless Era' Of New Century, A Compulsive Observer and writer, A Fighter, A Reformer, 'A Poet', A Cosmopolitan,
L Adamic is more
important figure! Symbol of Ethnic America Stature of Liberty... International 'Unity in Diversity', Co-existence ... Dynamic figure in 1930's-40's in the World! Almost twenty Ebooks (& CDR) by Translator Shozo Tahara (JAPAN)


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* * *

One could take note of the rise of the Black and other minority movements and recall Adamic's belief in a balance between the pride and individual racial group should have in its unique diversity and its unity and usefulness as a group within a whole society . It is not so much that either America or Adamic has cycled as it is that beneath the widely varying surface detail of Adamic's prose is the continuing study of the human condition. His canon, therefore, provides sufficient provocation
for both his, and our, day.

Dr. Henry A. Christian
(Rutgers University and biographer of Louis Adamic)
"Louis Adamic A Checklist" 1971


Adamic not only sees deeply into current American social phenomena,
but he studies the lives of individual living in American with equal clarity,

he did more to call attention to ethnic values
and dramatize what he called
the secondary consequences
of immigration than any other American of his time.

Carry McWilliams*
(Author of "Louis Adamic and Shadow-America" 1935)




The period from 1948 to 1951 is remembered by the people who lives through it for the constant fear of another atomic bomb, the war in Korea and the birth of McCarthyism ...The background to all these events was the Cold War that had taken a number of  violent turns and which, in a few years, had brought humanity to the brink of a Third World War. . . . With all the energy possessed by a human being,  Louis Adamic fought against the horrifying consequences of these events. …His strong disagreement with the US domestic and foreign policy of the time is reflected in his journal T & T: Trends & Tides, which in 1948 was, as he wrote,  spearheading an American resistance movement It is also reflected in his articles published in other periodicals, in his unpublished manuscript, Game of Chess in an Earthquake, and his political activity connected with the American Progressive party.
The development of McCarthyism in the US, tense international relations, the cruel reality of the Korean war and many personal problems brought Adamic to the point of no return. His violent death on his estate in Milford aroused much speculation, which to this day remains just that. Most of those who wrote about Adamic after this tragedy or after the posthumous publishing of his book share the belief that his death was a great loss not only for his two countries but also for all international movements dedicated to progress, fair relations and the harmony of humanity.

Dr. Janja Zitnik




My purpose... is to begin exploring our American cultural past... imaginatively and creatively, with eyes to the future, ... to sink our roots into our common American subsoil, rich, sun-warmed and well watered, from which we still may grow and flower. 

Louis Adamic (1940)



without the border - No ethnic conflictt- No more war

"EU" and Louis Adamic
(Public lecture in NewYork 1941)

On November 8, 1941, at the Hotel Pierre in New York City, Adamic spoke to 600 members of New York Branch of the American Association of University Women. His topic consisted of part f his ARM (The American Reconstruction Mission) concept; but as I have noted about all of the Two-Way Passage idea, in America Adamic's idea got shoved off to the Left. But here is the New York Times report of Adamic's remarks: "Louis Adamic, author, presenting his idea for the reconstruction of Europe, proposed that there be organized in this country twenty-odd provisional government ... to be made into federated parts of a continental European State.<There would be one currency, one postal system, one trade and traffic control, and so on,> Mr.Adamic suggested ("Women"). Adamic's remarks "and so on " seem to me to be something like a description of the proposed non-communist New Europe of 1992 into which Adamic's native Slovenia, and perhaps Croatia, and perhaps all Yugoslavia hopes to, ought to, needs to, must (?) merge. So I'm not quite ready to let Louis Adamic go just yet . . .

"Women Scholars Active in Wartime", New York Times. 9 November, 1941.

"Literature, Culture and Ethnicity-Studies on Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Literatures" by Henry. A. Christian 1993


 A Free World State

I am for a free Jewish homeland in Palestine which is not anything exclusive and separate but a part of a world organized upon the basis of an intense consciousness of all people's interdependence and also for a free Slovenia, a free Croatia, and a free Serbia in a free Balkan or southeast-European confederation in a free United Europe, which is part of a free World State.

-The New Palestine,November28,1942- L Adamic


[Adamic could never enter the Russia of Stalin during his life.]

In the The Eagle and the Roots(1952) Adamic writes,

I think there is a fatality in it-
I seldom go to a place I set out for.
- LAURENCE STERNE A Sentimental Journey



The future, ours and the world's,
is in unity within diversity.

Melting Pot is a poor phrase and concept. It means everybody is to be turned into something else with heart. The future, ours and the world's, is in unity within diversity. Our various backgrounds are important and valuable, but, in the long run, not in themselves, not as something perfect and final. They are important and valuable only as material for our future American culture. As I say, we have a chance to create a universal, a pan-human culture, more satisfying than anything humanity has as yet devised or experienced. The American Dream is a lovely thing, but to keep it alive, to keep it from turning onto a Nightmare, every once in while we've got to wake up.

From Many Land,1940 p.301 - L Adamic

The are two ways of looking at our history. One is this: that the United States is an Anglo-Saxon country
with a white Protestant Anglo-Saxson civilization struggling to preserve itself against 
infiltration and adulteration by other civilizations brought here by Negroes and hordes of "foreigners."
The second is this: that the pattern of the
United States is not essentially Anglo-Saxon though her language is English....
The Pattern of America is all of a piece ; it is a blend of cultures from many lands,
woven of threads from many corners of the world.
Diversity itself is the pattern, is the stuff and color of the fabric.
--A Nation of Nations 1945 p6 


Today, "STRUGGLE" by L Adamic is most Important book
concerning Protection of Human Rights in the world.   


Adamic's last work



The Eagle and the Roots

The Eagle and the Roots was published in the U.S.A. on the 22 May 1952 (Garden City: Doubleday), that is, nine months after the writer's death, and in an abbreviated form.

Translation Orel in Korenine, translated by Mira Mihelic, Ljubljana: Drzavana Zalozha Slovenia,1970(with an introdution by Ivan Bratko). Second edition:1981(with a new introduction by Ivan Bratko)

One: I really wanted t go to Russia first, but--
Two: The White City id really white, also very red and somewhat blue
Three: Figures in a taut moment
and the question: What is America?
Four: "Hero Tito! Hero Tito! Hero Tito! " A "beginner" looming out of human nature
Five: Talking at the confluence of unparalleled events
Six: My family
dead poets and the trouble with giants SEVEN: The false spring and the eagle
Eight: Operation Bootstrap "Coming up out of the dugout, out of the filth"
Nine: Tumult within "the heart of a heartless world"
and the gray prior's silence
Ten: Wading in a scoop and the eagle's ordeal to free himself

One: The beginnings of a "beginner"
or, The boy is the father of the man
Two: The way through the underground toward something bigger than himself
Three: Twists and turns in the labyrinthine underground
Four: The climax: "Death to Fascism!
Liberty to the people!"



To sum up the contrastive comments: Adamic's last work invited contradictory reactions. In the U.S.A. the book was to a great extent rejected because of what were considered its unjustified criticism of domestic policy and its subjective, idealized presentation of conditions in Yugoslavia; in Yugoslavia, on the hand, it was ignored on account of its lack of criticism of U.S.A. conditions and unacceptable criticisms of Yugoslav political life. Today, more than four decades after the initial publication of The Eagle and the Roots, the judgments of some U.S. and Slovene experts on Adamic have, in the opinion of this author, come much closer together. It is understandable that the true significance of a literary work can only be objectively evaluated with the passage of time. - J ZITNIK




'Game of Chess in an Earthquake'

Core of The Eagle and the Roots

-the unpublished and disappeared chapter-


“The Education  of  Michael Novak” 

The beginnings of Adamic’s idea about the book and the connotations of its title are presented in the opening of the draft:

    Ten years ago I began to plan a book tentatively entitled “The Education of Michael Novak” for publication in 1950 or sooner after. I have been preparing for it intermittently since, and for perhaps a year I have left, off and on, that I am nearly ready. The first half of the book I could begin to write tomorrow: it will deal only or mainly with the American scene from the mid-1890’s to the mid-1930s. I have a large carton bulging with folders of notes for these early sections, mostly on matters not touched on, or barely touched on, in my books up to the present. For the last 250 or 300 pages, however, which will cover the last ten or fifteen years when the U. S. became inextricably part of the world, I need to go abroad for several months. I plan to do this in 1949.

  The book’s length will be about 200,000 words.

  The tentative (or working) title – to be given up if a better one springs out of the narrative during the writing – was suggested by Henry Adam’s best-known work. It is my purpose to do for the last half-century level, with a different point of view and different emphases and foci, and in a style and mood that I hope will contribute toward making my book more readable than I found much of “The Education of Henry Adams”… 




Most of the few people who are familiar with his plans in 1948, believe it would have been better for Adamic and certainly safer, if he had written “The Education of Michael Novak” instead The Eagle and the Roots, which is generally believed to have been the cause of his death.  “The Education” would certainly be an interesting novel, containing many dramatic but credible life stories. As he had proved in some of his other works, Adamic was a master of vivid and coherent life own thinking and emotions, interwoven within his fictional characters’ idea, feelings and actions. Had Adamic written this book as he conceived it, it would probably retain a lasting and reach a wider reading public than The Eagle and the Roots did. - J ZITNIK


TWO HOMELANDS 1999 Migration Studies, LOUIS ADAMIC IN SODOBNIKI :1948-1951 LJUBLJZNA 1992 and so on.
Shozo Tahara (japan)


Dr.Janja Zitnik
Dve domovini / Two Homelands-2-3-1992
Slovene Studies 13/1:111-116
Slovene Studies 14/2(1992)149-159
U(1989) UDK 870(73) Adamic L.7 The eagle and the roots.09
Literature Culture And Ethnicity -Studies on Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Literatures Edited by MIRKO JURAK

Dve domovini / Two Homelands-9-1998,95-110



The Native's Return again - after sixteen years 1949

Coffee Break

What is the important thing
To have priority for you?


AT THE PRAGUE AIRPORT, the official in charge of the Belgrade-bound Yugoslav plane introduced me to the pilot, who shook my hand with great energy.  

 "Tonight I leave for Slovenia," I said. "Tomorrow I'll be seeming my mother. I counted on a two weeks' rest and my brother made a reservation for me in the Slovenian Upland. But this morning I thought --quite seriously-- that I'd go to Italy now and return to Yugoslavia later."
 "You can't do that!" said Tito. "As I said before, you'd offend everyone, including me. Very well, we are not 'grateful'--you can go to the devil! But you can't get away from the fact that you were born here. Nor can we. If the Russians hold it against you, you won't want their visa-- if I'm beginning to know you correctly. If they do hold your Yugoslav origin against you --which is possible --then, of course, they'll not give you a visa --Come in!"
 The secretary announced that the other guests had arrived. Tito rose and, with an easy, fluent gesture, invited me to accompany at the sun's midday glare through the unshared windows, appeared to ponder something for ten or fifteen seconds.
 "This is Tuesday," he said then. "Could you change your plans and be here next Saturday evening?"
 I said I couldn't. "My brother and I are leaving for Ljubljana tonight. My mother is waiting for me; I haven't seen her for sixteen years."
 Tito nodded. "It occurred to me a party, invite twenty or thirty of our writers ostensibly to welcome you but really to discuss things. Frankly, our writers are not producing anything substantial. Drug Kardelj is worried too. He and Djilas and I talked about it the other day. I don't know what the matter is. In Old Yugoslavia scarcely anybody made a living writing; I guess Krleza was the only serious writer who did. Now poets, novelists, and journalists are well paid for everything they do; in fact, they receive huge honoraria for books they wrote before the war which are being reprinted; but---Is it too early to expect major literature? Don't the writers feel? I want them to be free, to write anything they wish, so long as it's honest." He paused, musing again.
 "Freedom--honesty," I said; "there's almost nothing more difficult for writers to achieve and practice than that. In America, too. Especially in a period like this. Especially freedom and honesty together. There are various definitions of each. But to hell with it!" --in English. I'm in no shape to go into all that.
 Tito's smile was half a scowl.
 "I think I like this man," I thought. 

The Eagle and the Roots - L Adamic

*This is A Coffee Break, but his philosophy, too.



◇ ◆ ◇ 

Dear Tine, Thank you for
"Reading A Painting: Maxo Vanka's Collage World WarU"
by Henry A. Christian Tine T. Kurent
Dve domovini / two Homelands- 8-1997,89-105 

 It's very interesting and important- the Croatian artist Maksimilian Vanka*, his unti-war Collage World WarU, Chandler (Douglas Chandler)*, and L Adamic. And also thank you for the recopied portrait of Louis Adamic Vanka draw at the island of Korcula (Yugoslavia) in 1933, which was found in the Adamic family recently.

Maxo Vanka's Collage "World WarU",17"6"by 11"6''',New York, 1939
TIe de la Cite/ A swastika-germ, inscriptions CHANDLER and KORCULA, and the candle/ Inscriptions WASHINGTON and L ADAMIC]

 The collage World WarU by Vanka illustrates the successful voyage of the liner Ile de France from Le Havre to New York in the first days of the war and her avoidance of the same fate as liners HMS Lusitania and HMS Athenia, sunk by German U-boats in the first days of the WW I and WWU respectively. Numerous symbols on the collage recall the names of relevant towns and personalities, among them L.Adamic.

 "Important as the collage may be for those interested in Vanka and Adamic, the work of art has significance beyond either man or the cause of its inception. Much as Picasso's Guernica is always a commissioned depiction of the 1937 bombing of a Spanish town, the painting nevertheless is forever perceived in light of the subsequent defeat of the Spanish Republicans and the coming of World WarU. So too does the final importance of Vanka's collage depend on later events."  

* Maksimilian (Maxo) Vanka (1889-1963)


◇ ◆ ◇ 

(Letters by Louis Adamic to his nephew Tine)

Dve domovini / Two Homelands-9-1998,27-53

 My Correspondence with Louis Adamic started after the Second World War. It contains more than two dozen of long letters by Louis, not to count some duplicates, books and magazines, postcards, paper clips, greetings, and some handwritten slips of paper, added to other mail. His early letters were in Slovenian, but latter he switched to English. That was his way to teach me, since he expected that my replies will be English too. He tried to broaden my mind by making me interested in the World Government, Henry Wallace's politics and other problems of the time.
 Occasionaly, Adamic corrected my writing. He rectified, e. g., my titling him as tovaris. In those time, the world gospod was a kind of insult. On an undated slip of paper (in a parcel with architectual magazines) he let me know: My address is Mr Louis Adamic, New Jersey. It is important to bear in mind the relative meaning of various words, etc Later, we have heard about McCarthy and his anti-communist campaign. My feeling of guilt persisted long after his death.

from Adamic to his nephew




SPECTRUM-Immigration History Research Center-University of Minnesota ("Louis Adamic His Life, Work, and Legacy") Fall 1982 The IHRC Guide to Collections


 Louis Adamic's books were standard fare for literate Americans and Yugoslavs for several decades and then abruptly, in the United States at least, read little after his death. This neglect in the United States was partly caused by the McCarthyism of the early 1950s. Adamic was dismissed as a lightweight popularizer, if not a "Red" propagandist. In recent years, however, interest in the man and his work has been quietly growing in both the United States and Yugoslavia.

 Adamic is of interest today for many reasons. Students of history, literature, and public policy on both sides of the Atlantic are finding Adamic an important figure. Much current U.S. historical research into the 1930s and 1940s investigates the influence of ethnicity on politics and culture. More often than not, Adamic is found at the junctures of this influence. He has been rediscovered as a pioneer writer and patron of American ethnic literature; meanwhile, in Yugoslavia his reputation continues to grow as a major force in modern Slovenian letters. His role as mediator between "old-stock" and ethnic cultures in the United States as well as between the United States and Yugoslavia, is intriguing. Adamic's efforts as an ethnic leader and intellectual to influence both American and Yugoslav public policy also are arresting.

 In the United States, Adamic has received attention mostly as an early prophet of the pluralistic America celebrated in the current ethnic revival. The ethnic movement of our time has a short memory. The editors of The Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Group (1981), for example, acknowledged that they were well along with their work before discovering that Adamic had proposed a similar project in My America(1938).

 In Yugoslavia, Adamic holds similar contemporary significance. There he is honored as an early friends and read as an outsides witness to the creation of the New Yugoslavia, which is now moving into a post-Tito era. A measure of his reputation in his homeland is the recent publication of a large collection of his correspondence, the republication of The Eagle and the Roots, and the projected reprinting of most of his woks with new scholarly introductions.





The St.Paul symposium, May 29-30,1981

The St.Paul symposium on Louis Adamic drew approximately 150 participants from Yugoslavia, Canada, and the United States. And the Ethnic Dance Theatre of St. Paul performed a series of South Slavic dances and songs at a dinner during the Minnesota conference.

 France Adamic and Tine Kurent, Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljublijana, "The Adamic Family"* / William C. Beyer, University of Minesota, "Louis Adamic and Common Ground, 1940-1949* / John A. Blatnik, former U. S. Congressman, Arlington, Virginia, " Louis Adamic: A Personal Reminiscence" / Henry A. Christian, Newark College of Rutgers University, Newark, NewJersey, "Louis Adamic: Random Portraits and Snapshots" / Ivan cizmic, Matica Iseljenika Hrvatske, Zagreb, "The Native's return: Its Impact" / Danica Dolenc, UniverZa Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljana, " Louis Adamic and Frank Mlakar: Two Slovene American Writers" / Philip Gleason, Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana, "Minorities' in Europe and America" / Robert F. Harney, University of Tronto, Ontario, "E Pluribus Unum: Louis Adamic and the Meaning of Ethnic History" / Matjaz Klemencic, Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljana, " Louis Adamic and World WarU* / Lorraine Lees, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, " Louis Adamic and American Foreign policymakers" / Fred H. Matthews, York University, Toronto, Ontario, " Louis Adamic in the Development of American Pluralist thought" / John L. Modic, Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, " Laughing in the Jungle: The Writer as Hero" / Nicholas V Montalto, International Institute of Jersey City, New Jersey, "Adamic and Multicultultual Education, 1939-1941" / Bogdan C Novak, University of Toledo, Ohio, "Adamic and Yugoslavia during World WarU:The Slovene Catholic Response" / Jerneja Petric, Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljana, "Louis Adamic and His Views Concerning Literature"* / Rose Mary Prosen, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio, "Louis Adamic: Romantic Sentinel"* / Janez Stanonik, Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljiana, "Historical Survey of Reseach on Adamic"* / Rudolph Susel, editor of Ameriska domovina, Cleveland, Ohio, "The Slovenian Immigration to America"* / Vladislav A. Tomovic, Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, "Adamic under Attack"* / Rudolph J Vecoli, University of Minnesota, "Dynamite: Adamic and Working-class America"* / Joza Vilfan, former Yugoslav ambassador and Post-war Yugoslavia: A Personal Reminiscence"* / Richard Weiss, University of California, Los Angeles, "Louis Adamic and Cultural Democracy"

*read at both symposia


The Ljubljana Symposium, Sept 16-18, 1981 

The official U.S. delegation that traveled to Ljubljana included Henry A. Christian, John L. Modic, Rose Mary Prosen, Rudolph J. Vecoli(director of IHRC),and William C. Beyer. Besides the five members of the U.S. delegation (Ivan Dolenc, Slovene Canadian author and teacher, Florence Unetich,corresponding secretary, Progressive Slovene Women of America, Joze Vilfan, former Yugoslav U.N. ambassador and others) to Ljubljana, 35 other scholars from Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and many places in Yugoslavia presented papers there.

Gudrun Birnbaum, Universite de Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg, "Louis Adamic' s View of America: From the Jungle to the Nation of Nations" / Henry A. Christion, Newark College of Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey, "Adamic's Struggle: The International History of a 'Radical' Pamphlet" / Milan Culjak, Novi Sad, "The Native's Return: The Beginning of Louis Adamic's Commitment to the New Yugoslavia" / Ivan Dolenc, Toronto, "Reactions to 'The Bohunks' by Louis Adamic" / Branko Djukic, Beograd, " Louis Adamic in Contemporary Yugoslav and Foreign Encyclopaedias" / Drago Druskovic, Ljubljana, "Lovro Kuhar-Prezihov Voranc and Louis Adamic" / Omer Hadziselimovic, Univerzitet u Sarajevu, "The Response to the Work of Louis Adamic in the Criticism in Serbo-Croatian between the Two World Wars" / Dirk Hoerder, Universitat Bremen, "Industrialization, Americanization and the Immigrant: Whose Dynamite?" / Mirko Jurak, Universa Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljana, "The Relationship between Fictional and Non-Fictional Elements in Adamic's Autobiographical Novels" / Vladimir Klemencic and Rado Genorio, Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljana "Adamic in the Process of Mass Emigration from the Slovene Ethnic Territory" / Mile Klopcic, Ljubljana, "The First Visit of Louis Adamic to His Home Country" / Boris Kuhar, Slovenski etnografski muzej, Ljubljana, "The Popular Culture in Adamic's Birthplace" / Andrej Kurent, Drama SNG, Ljubljana, "Louis Adamic's Help to the Slovene Theatre" / Tine Kurent, Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljana, " Louis Adamic's Ties with His Family between His Emigration and His First Visit Home" / Janko Lavrin, Nottingham University, " My Correspondendence with Louis Adamic" / Anna Maria Martellone, Universita degli Studi di Firenze, "Immigrant Wokers and Social Struggle in America in the Writings of Louis Adamic" / John L. Modic, Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, "Louis Adamic and the Story of Common Ground" / Sloban Nesovic, Beograd, "Louis Adamic's Contribution to the Liberation of Yugoslavia, 1941-1945" / Sait Orahovac, Sarajevo, "The Origins of Adamic's The Native's Return" / Boris Paternu, Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljana, "The Nascence of Adamic's Values regarding America and Yugoslavia" / Denis Poniz, Ljubljana, "Nationalism in Adamic' Works about Slovenes and Yugoslavia" / Mojca Ravnik, Univerza Edvarda Kardelija v Ljbljana, "Emigration from Grosuplje before World WarT" / Marija Stanonik, SAZU, Ljubljana, "Louis Adamic and Yugoslav Literary Folklore" / Dragi Stefanija, "Macedonia in the Works of Stoyan Christowe and Louis Adamic" / Malcolm Sylvers, Universita degli Studi di Trieste, "The America of Louis Adamic: Democratic Ideals, Immigration and the Working Class Movement" / Tihomir Telisman, Zavod za migracije i narodnosti, Zagreb, "The Congress of American Croats and Louis Adamic" / Janez Tomsic, Split, "Louis Adamic and the Slovene Littloral" / Ivo Vidan, Sveuciliste u Zagrebu, "An Adventure in Understanding: Louis Adamic's America" / Franc Zadravec, Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljana, "Oton Zupancic and Louis Adamic"

The IHRC Guide to Collections


Bred Lake, a beautiful place in the northern part of Slovenia

* * *

 Stella and I sat on a stone under a low-hanging bough of a great hemlock at the clearing's edge and watched the lake below slip into shadow. Then we heard the sound of hurrying hob-nailed boots on the steep, gravelly Triglav trail ... and a moment later a boy and a girl bounded into the refulgent shimmer and stopped short at the convergence of trails, where the knoll was highest and the view best.

 Facing the lake and the sun, which put a rutilant sheen on their skin, they stood on that spot for possibly ten seconds without moving or saying a word. Then they abruptly faced each other and smiled strangely as though with a private understanding. And thus they remained for another few seconds.

 They were watching the setting sun's trembling light on each other's faces. Then the instant before shadow engulfed the knoll with the rest of the mountainside, the girl rose quickly, eagerly on her toes and the boy bent down a little and pressed his cheek briefly against hers.

 I have never witnessed a more appealing scene or one more filled with drama. For a moment, rising on the tiniest ripple in the time-stream, the boy and the girl were the core of all meaning, the sudden and significant center of everything that lived and mattered.

*Louis Adamic, 'Love in Slovenia' in MY NATIVE LAND, New York and London:Harper&Brothers,1943,pp.3-4



Laughing in the Jungle

By Louis Adamic

As A boy of nine, and even younger, in my native village of Blato, in Carniola - then a Slovenian duchy of Austria and later a part of Yugoslavia - I experienced a thrill ever time one of the men of the little community returned from America.

 My notion of the United States then, was that it was a grand, amazing, somewhat fantastic place-the Golden Country-a sort of Paradise-the Land of Promise in more ways than one-huge beyond conception, thousands of miles across the ocean, untellably exciting, explosive, quite incomparable to the tiny, quiet, lovely Carniola ; a place full of movement and turmoil, wherein things that were unimaginable and impossible in Blato happened daily as a matter of course.
In America one could make pots of money in a short time, acquire immense holdings, wear a white collar, and have polish on one's bootsand eat white bread, soup and meat on weekdays
In America one did not have to remain an ordinary workman. There, it seemed, one man was as good as the next
I heard a returned Amerikanec tell of regions known as Texas and Oklahoma where single farms-renche (ranches), he called them-were larger than the entire province of Carniola! It took a man days to ride on horseback from one end of such a ranch to the other. There were people in Blato and in neighboring villages who, Thomas-like, did not believe this, but my boyish imagination was aflame with America, and I believed it.
In America everything was possible. There even the common people were "citizen," not "subjects," as they were in Austria an in most other European countries.

 One day-I was then a little over ten-I said to Mother:
"Someday I am going to America."
Mother looked at me a long moment She was then a healthy young peasant woman, not yet thirty, rather tall, with a full bust and large, wide hips ; long arms and big capable hands; a broad, sun-browned, wind-creased Slavic face; large, widespaced hazel eyes, mild and luminous with simple mirth ; and wavy hair which stuck in little gold-bleached wisps from under her colored kerchief, tied below her chin. She had then four children, two boys and two girls ; later she bore five more, three girls. I was oldest. Years after I came to America my oldest sister wrote me that there was a story in the village that Mother had laughed in her pains at my birth-which probably is not true; mother herself, who is still living, does not remember. But I know that when I was a boy she had-and probably still has-the gift of laughter in a greater measure than most people thereabouts ; indeed, than most people anywhere. Hers was the healthy, natural, visceral, body-shaking laughter of Slovenian peasants in Carniola, especially of peasant women-variable laughter; usually mirthful and humorous, clear and outright, but sometimes, too, mirthless and unhumorous, pain-born, and pain-transcending.
"I am going to America," I said again, as Mother continued to look at me in silence.
I imagine she thought that I was a strange boy. Now and then she had remarked in hearing that I worried her. Often she looked at me with silent concern. In some respects I was a self-willed youngster. I usually had things my way, regardless of opposition.
Finally, Mother smiled at me, although I do not doubt that what I said frightened her. She smiled with her whole face-her mouth, her wrinkles, her eyes, especially her eyes.
I smiled, too. I was a healthy boy, tall and strong for my age. Physically, as Mother often remarked, I resembled Father, who was a peasant in body and soul; but evidently I was not made to be a peasant. If necessary, I could work hard in the field, but I very much preferred not to. I liked to move about the village, roam in the woods, go to neighboring village, stand by the side of the highway, and observe things.
With a little catch in her voice, Mother said: " To America? But when are you going?"
"I don't know," I said. "When I grow up, I guess. I am already ten." I had not thought of it in detail, but had merely decided to go some day.
Mother laughed. Her laughter was tremulous with apprehension. She could not make out.
I realized then that she would not like me to go to America. ...


 All of us, parents and children, slept in the izba-the large room in a Slovenian peasant house-and that night, soon after we all went to bed, Mother called me by name in a low voice, adding, "Are you asleep?"
 I was awake, and almost answered her, but then it occurred to me that she probably meant to discuss me with Father. I kept quiet. The bed which I shared with my brother was in the opposite corner from my parents'.
"He is asleep," mumbled Father. "Why do you call him?"
"I want to tell you what he said to today," said Mother, in a half-whisper, which I heard clearly. "He said he would go to America when he grew up"
Father grunted vaguely. He was heavy with fatigue. He had worked hard all day. He was one of the better-to-do peasants in Blato, but with Mother's aid, did nearly all the work on the farm, seldom hiring outside help. He was a large, hard man, in his late thirties; blue-eyed and light-haired; a simple, competent peasant.
He grunted again. "America? He is only a child. How old is he, anyhow?" he asked. He was too busy to keep up with the ages of his children.
"He is ten," said Mother. "But he is like no other boy in the village."
"Only a child," Father grunted again. "Childish talk."
"Sometimes I am afraid to talk with him," said Mother. "I don't know what is going in his head. He asked me questions and tells me things. Nothing that occurs hereabouts escapes him. And he reads everything he finds in the village."
They were both silent a minutes.
"I'll send him to city school, then," said Father, "even if he is our oldest." According to custom in Carniola, as the oldest son, I was supposed to stay home and work on the farm, and after my father's death become its master. "I'll send him to city school in Lublyana"-the provincial capital. "Let him get educated if he has a head for learning."
"That what Martin says we should do, too" said Mother. Martin was her brother, the priest I charge of the parish of Zhalna, which included the village of Blato.
"They say children are God's blessing," said Father, after a while, "but-"
 "Oh, everything will be well in the end," Mother interrupted his misgiving. "There is little to worry about so long as God gives us health." She was a natural, earth-and-sky optimist; a smiling, laughing fatalist. Then, after a few moments, she added: "Maybe-maybe, if we send him to school in Lublyana, he will become a priest, like my brother Martin."
Father said nothing to this. Mother was silent, too. By and by I heard Father snore lightly, in the first stage of his slumber.


 "Do Not Got to America!"

 …Down with Austria! Down with America! Austria drove the good Slovenian peasants to America, and America ruined them. True, a deal of money came from the United States, but was it worth the price? America broke and mangled the emigrants' bodies, defiled their souls, deprived them of their simple spiritual and aethetic sensibilities, corrupted their charming native dialects and manners, and generally alienated them from the homeland. The peasants (said the agitators) were lured to America by her dollars and so-called opportunities because at home the Austrian oligarchy denied them the soil which was their birthright, and on which they might have made decent livings. ...

 A widely read book in Carniola at that time, sponsored by the Yugoslav Movement, was Obljubljena dezhela (The Land of Promise), an anonymous novel dealing with the unhappy voyage of a small party of honest, simple Slovenian peasants to the falsely called Land of Promise, and their brief and heartrending sojourn within its borders, where, swindled by sharpers out of all they possessed, most of them perished from hunger, thirst, and exposure in a desert. The dreadful tale ended with these words: "Nev v Ameriko!" ("Do not go to America!).



 In the morning everything was quiet again.
 The storm was over.
Father and Mother bore their parental misfortune with the unconscious dignity of simple people. The effect upon them of my expulsion from school [due to the participation in the student activities of the revolutionary Yugoslav National Movement] and my subsequent balking at going into the Jesuit School was essentially the same as had been the effect of a severe hailstorm early the previous summer, which, in a few minutes late one afternoon, had ruined most of our growing potatoes and young corn.
On that occasion I had seen Mother stare at the swirls of hailstones bating upon the young plants. She had wept and sprinkled holy water from the doorway, while Father, standing by her side, had prayed and cursed in the same breath. But then the storm had passed and in a few minutes the sun had come out, and Mother had ceased weeping and Father had stopped praying and cursing.
A half-hour afterward they had walked in the fields, inspecting the ruins. I had walked with them. Suddenly, Mother's sad face had lighted up.
"Look," she had said, "here the hail did almost no harm. It passed over. This will grow yet." She had smiled at Father, then at me. "Yes," Father had agreed, "this will grow again."
When I came down that morning, Mother said, simply:
"Father says he will give you the money and you may go to America, and God bless you, son."

------- Laughing in the Jungle by L Adamic



Immigrants to their Promised Land!

 I go to America.

 The Niagara sailed from Le Havre, France. She was an old ship, rather small, carring mostly immigrants. Most of the steerage passengers were Poles, Slovaks, Czechs, Croatians, Slovenians, and Bosnians, with a sprinkling of Jews, Greeks, Turks, Germans, and Austrian Italians; young men and middle-aged men, women and children of all ages, some of them wearing colorful native costumes--all of them headed for the Land of Promise..

- - - -

 The day before we reached New York Harbor, Molek said to me in English: "You'll be all right in America, even if it is a jungle," which I understood with but slight help from him. He added in Slovenian: "You are going to America for excitement and adventure. Don't fear; you will not be disappointed; you will find plenty of both."
I did not know what to say to that. The heavy feeling in my midriff had left me completely. I ceased thinking of people and things in the Old Country.

 The morning of December 30,1913, in New York, was clear and cold. There was snow on shore.
Molek and I were on deck as we passed the Statue of Liberty, the
size of which momentarily impressed me. My gaze strained toward the skyline of lower Manhattan. Molek was talking to me, but I remember little of what he said. I was quivering all over.
"Those are buildings," said Molek. "There --in the mist-- is the Woolworth Tower. See?"
I nodded. I was in a chaos of visual sensations. I experienced a curious elation when the Niagara blew a passing signal to a vessel ahead of us. I wanted to yell as loud as that whistle.
Now and then I glanced a the noisy, picturesque, garlicky crowd on the steerage deck: people of perhaps a dozen nationalities milling among the capstans and stream-hissing winches, pushing toward the rails, straining and stretching to catch a glimpse of the new country, of the city; lifting their children, even their infants, to give them a view of the Statue of Liberty; women weeping for joy, men falling on their knees in thanksgiving, and children screaming, wailing, dancing.
We docked somewhere in the East River, and I began to hear the distant rumble of the city's traffic.
Near by, too, I saw the great span of Brooklyn Bridge. It looked huge and superb against the clear winter sky, with vessels passing under it. Steel! There was steel all about.

------ Laughing by L Adamic



 The day I spent on Ellis Island was an eternity. Rumors were current among immigrants of several nationalities that some of us would be refused admittance into the United States and sent back to Europe. For several hors I was in a cold sweat on this account .

 I was asked the usual questions. When and where was I born? My nationality? Religion? Was I a legitimate child? What were the names of my parents? Was I a prostitute? (I assume that male and female immigrants were subjected to the same questionnaire.) Was I an ex-convict? A criminal? Why had I come to the United States?
What did I expect to do in the United States? I replied that I hoped to get a job. What kind of job? I didn't know ; any kind of job.

 I was weak in the knees and just managed to walk out of the room, then downstairs and onto the ferryboat. I laughed, perhaps a bid hysterically, as the little Ellis Island ferryboat bounded over the rough, white-capped waters of the bay toward the Battery.

 I was in New York--in America.



"Once upon a time immigrants were called 'dung' in America ; that was a good name for them. They were the fertilizer feeding the roots of America's present and future greatness. They are still 'dung.' The roots of America's greatness still feed on them. Life in America is a scramble. More people are swept under than rise to riches,"  


* *

A light rain had fallen during the night and the streets were frozen. Turning a corner somewhere in the Twenties near Third Avenue, I came to a slight incline where a teamster for all he was worth in an attempt to make them pull up the slippery grade. Sparks flew from under the hooves; straining themselves and unable to hold ground, the animals were falling to their knees, making scarcely any progress; and as the wagon shook over the cobbles, little pieces of coal dropped onto the streets. They were immediately picked up by two small girls clad, so far as I could see, in threadbare torn dresses that barely reached to their knees--and I was cold in my heavy army overcoat! They were immigrants' children, no doubt. Obviously, they were rivals, each belonging to a different family, for a piece of coal no sooner struck the street than they both rushed for it like two famished animals for a bit of food, frequently endangering their lives by crawing under the wagon.



* * *

My life in America has been largely an adventure in understanding,
and these people--foreign-born and native American--
and their histories have been a vital factor in that adventure.

I have never been hungry for more than two days since I am here.
The jungle has been and is vastly interesting. Too interesting.
Sometimes it is overwhelming in its complexity and melodrama.
As I say, lately I find difficult to laugh.

But I stay and intend to remain here.  

L Adamic (Laughing 1932) 


In the last forty years we immigrants have dug no end of coal
and ore and made most of the steel in the United States.much
of our immigrants' energy is frozen in America's present-day
greatness; in the tall buildings of New Yorkin the bridges and
railroads throughout America .We have contributed to America's
greatness not only with our brawn, but with our brains as well
We have worked hard, millions of us, and our achievements remain...

L Adamic (The Native's Return 1934)


Profiteers, Professional Patriots or "Vile Immigrants?"
L Adamic (COMMON SENSE April,1934) 



America, "a Land Nobody Knew."
"I want America eventually to become a work of art."
L Adamic (My America 1938)



On the evening of June 11,1991, as one of the presentations of
The New York International Festival of the Arts, a performance on Ellis Island
titled "Immigrant Voices" relived via live readings the immigrant experience
from European departure to passage through Ellis Island to the beginnings
of new life in America. In the course of actors' presenting words
from nearly fifty immigrants, at three different times the passage
being spoken was from Laughing In the Jungle. (H.A. Christian)  


* * * * *

Adamic never lost his pride
as an immigrant through his life.



Adamic at age about 15





After Nineteen Years
-Home Again from America- 

Early IN THE SPRING OF 1932, WHEN I RECEIVED A Guggenheim Fellowship requiring me to go to Europe for a year, I was thirty-three and had been in the United States nineteen years. A fourteen-a son of peasants, with a touch of formal "city education"-I had emigrated to the United States from Carniola, then a tiny Slovene province of Austria, now an even tinier part of a banovina in the new Yugoslav state.
In those nineteen years I had become an American; indeed, I had often thought I was more American than were ceaselessly, almost fanatically, interested in the American scene; in idea and forces operating in America's national life, in movements, tendencies and personalities, in technical advances, in social, economic, and political problems, and generally in the tremendous drama of the New World.
Events and things outside of America interested me but incidentally: only in so far as they were related to, or as they affected, the United States. I spoke, wrote, and read only in English. For sixteen years I had had practically no close contact with immigrants of my native nationality. After the war I had roamed over a good half of the United States and had been to Hawaii, Philippines, Central and South America. In the last few years I had become an American writer, writing on American subjects for American readers. And I had married an American girl.
To Stella I had told but a few main facts about my childhood and early boyhood in the old country; and what little I had told her of my parents, and village and house in which I was born, had seemed to her "like a story. "She scarcely believed me. To her I was an American from toes to scalp.

 Three weeks later, in mid-Atlantic, I said to Stella, "I'm a bit scared of this home."
"I thought something was bothering you," she said. "Why?"
"Well," I began to explain, "although" in a way it seems like the day before yesterday, it's a long time since I felt home. I was very young and I think I've changed a great deal-fundamentally-since then. All my emotional and intellectual life now seems to be rooted in America. I belong in America. My old country, somehow, is a million miles away-on another planet-and my old country includes my people."
Stella listened sympathetically.
 "Of course," I went on, "I remember my parents as they were before left home, but now my memory of them is seriously blurred by the idea which abruptly intrudes itself upon my mind, that in these nineteen years, which have been a drastic, turbulent period for everybody in Europe, they, too, must have changed-not merely grown older, but changed, probably, in their characters. This adds to the distance between them and me.
 "I have four brothers and five sisters in Carniola. Seven of them were already in the world nineteen years ago. Of the two born since then, I have, of course, no notion, except that their names are Yozhe and Anica, and their ages seventeen and fifteen, respectively. The other seven I remember but dimly as they were in 1913. I was the oldest (three children before me had died). My oldest sister, Tonchka, was thirteen. My oldest brother, Stan, was ten. My youngest brother, France, was a little over a year. Now he is nearly twenty-one. Tonchka is thirty-two, married, and has two children. Stan is twenty-nine. Another sister, Mimi, was four when I left. Now she is twenty-three, a nun in a hospital, and her name is Manuela. Why she became a nun is more than I know. Then there is my brother Ante and my sister Paula and Poldaka-barely more than names to me. In fact, I have to strain my memory to tell you their names. And now I'm going to visit them because that, somehow, seems the proper thing to do."
"It'll probably be very interesting," said Stella.
"Probably very awkward," said I. "During the last fifteen years my contact with home has been exceedingly thin. For two years after America's entry into the war I could not write to my people because I was in the American army and they were in Austria. We were 'enemies.' For two or three years after the war my circumstances were nothing to write about to anybody; so I didn't. In the last eight or nine years after the war I wrote home, as a rule, once in six months-a card or a short note, to the effect that I was well and hoped they were all well, too. I could not write much more. For one thing, I could not begin to tell them about America and myself; how I felt about America, what a wonderful and terrible place it was, how it fascinated and thrilled me. They might misunderstand something; something I'd say might disturb them; then I'd have to explain, and so on; there would be no end to writing-to what purpose? At the end they would really know nothing or very little about America or me. One has to live in the United States a long time to even begin to know it. Besides, if I got them interested in America, some of my brothers and sisters might want to come over --and I did not want that. I had troubles enough of my own. And they were possibly as well off in Carniola as they would be in America . Another thing : of late years I could express only the most ordinary things n my native tongue. I could not write in Slovenian of involved matters, such as my life in America.
"At home, of course, they did not understand me, what I was up to in America, why I wrote so little ; and they, with their peasant patience and pride (which, as I recall, does not break down even before members of their own family) -they, in turn, asked me for no explanations, and their letters to me were almost as brief as mine to them. They-mother or one of my sisters or brothers-usually answered that they were well, too, thank you. Occasionally they added some such information at that Tonchka had married or had had a child, or that Stan or Ante had had to go into military services, or that Mimi had become a nun-bare facts, nothing else.
"So I don't know what I'll find. I have no idea how they stand economically. When I felt for America my father was a well-to-do peasant in the village. Now, if one is to believe American newspapers, all of Europe is in a bad way and I don't know what's happened to my people lately. Then, too, you must remember that I'm coming from America, and when one returns from America one is supposed to bring with him a pot of money and help those who have stayed at home-while all I have is a Guggenheim Fellowship, barely enough to keep you and me in Europe for a year!"
 Stella was optimistic. "Chances are it won't be bad as you think. Perhaps your people are as scared of you, what America has done to you, and the kind of girl you married, as you are of them and what the nineteen years have done to them."
"Maybe," I said. I felt a little better, not much, and not for long.

 Our ship stopped for a few hours each at Lisbon, Gibraltar, Cannes, Naples, and Palermo. Save in Cannes, everywhere, on getting ashore, we were mobbed by ragged youngsters, crying, "Gimme! Gimme!" and making signs that they were famished and wanted to eat. In the streets (especially in Lisbon) women with children in their arms approached us and made signs that their babies were hungry. Most of these, no doubt, were professionals, dressed and trained for begging; but even so it was depressing.
"In Yugoslavia it may be even worse," I said.
On the morning of May 13th we began to sail along the coast of Yugoslavia. We passed tiny islands and bright little towns along the shore line, and gradually I began to feel better. I scarcely know why. Perhaps because the hills as ashore looked so much like the hills from San Pedro to San Diego in southern California where I lived for years. Perhaps also because the Adriatic Sea, with the sun on it, was even bluer, lovelier than the Mediterranean.
But even so, I was hardly prepared for Dubrovnik, or Ragusa. From the ship, as we approached it, it appeared unreal. "Like a stage set for a play," Stella remarked. And another American, learning next to her on the rail, said, "Once expects a bunch of actors to appear out there at any moment and begin to sing, 'We are the merry villagers. ...'"
 The boat stopped for three hours and we went ashore. Here we were not mobbed by beggars. Some of the young boys on the pier were almost as ragged as those in Lisbon and in Palermo, but they looked anything but starved or sick. Their grins reached from ear to ear. Their faces were brown. Locks of straggly dark hair hung over their blue eyes.
To one of the ragamuffins Stella offered a coin. He looked at her, startled. "Zashto? (What for?)" he asked. I explained to the youngster in Croatian (which, to my surprise, I suddenly began to speak with very little difficulty) that my wife wanted to make him a present of the coin. He scowled: "Havala liepa! (Thank you!) No alms!" Then, as if something just occurred to him his sun-tanned young features lit up. "If you and the lady wish to be friendly and generous," he grinned, "please offer me an American cigarette if you have one and see if I'll take it."
He got several cigarettes; then his mouth and eyes - his whole face - broke into a smile that I cannot describe. "Hvala liepa!" he shouted, and dashed off. Several other boys, all shouting, followed him.
I felt grand. "My people!" I said to myself. " 'No alms!' " I could have run after the urchin and hugged him.
"My people!" I said, aloud.
 Stella laughed. We both laughed.
 We walked through the ancient, sun-flooded, and shadowy street of Dubrovnik, whose history reaches back to the fifth century. Many of the streets were not streets at all, but twisty stairways running from the main thorough-fares up the steep grades. Some of the people we saw were obviously foreigners--visitors or tourists from Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, and England--but the majority were native Dalmatians of all ages, many in colorful homespun costumes, and Serbo-Moslem laborers from near-by Bosnia and Herzegovina, wearing opanke, Serb sandals, with upturned toes and baggy Turkish breeches, close-fitting jackets, and red fezes. On one street we saw two veiled Mohammedan women walking on one side; on the other side were two Catholic nuns. In the doorways sat mothers, giving their breasts to infants. There were swarms of children everywhere.
"Such faces!" exclaimed Stella every minutes. "Even the homely ones are beautiful, they're so healthy and brown."

  --- --- --- --- ---

* * *

The short train ride from Trieste to Lublyana was a delightful experience, especially after we crossed the Italian border, when I was in my old country at last.
It was a perfect mid-spring afternoon, and most of my misgivings of the week before had vanished. Carniola, to all seeming, had not changed a whit. Here was the same river Sava with the tributaries; the same little lakes and waterfalls; the same thickly wooded hills and mountains, with the snow-capped peaks above them; the same fields and meadows; the same villages and little churches, with crude frescoes of saints painted by peasant artists on the outer walls; and the same people, toiling in the same old way-slowly, patiently, somewhat inefficiently (to my American eyes) with semi-primitive tools and implements, on the same fertile black soil. The World War (although some of the worst battles were fought within hearing distance of Carniola) and the drastic political change, in 1918, from Austria to Yugoslavia had had no effect upon its essential aspects, its exquisite and wholesome beauty.
I do not mean to say that the regions of Carniola by themselves, with all their congestion of lovely valleys, lakes, rivers, hills, woods, and mountains, are more beautiful than other regions I have seen elsewhere in the world. I know of vastly grander places in the United States, but houses and towns in America, a new country, often spoil a natural scene. If not houses and towns, then outdoor advertisements and heaps of tin cans and discarded machinery. In Carniola, however, the simple peasant architecture of the small villages seems to enhance the beauty of the country-side. The houses and villages belong. They appear to have grown out of the soil. They belong exactly where they are, both aesthetically and economically. Most of them have been where they are for five, six, seven, hundred years. They are harmonious with the woods, the fields, the lakes. They are in the pattern of the country as a whole, an elemental and sympathetic feature thereof.
The same goes for the people. The peasants driving the oxen on the dirt roads; the women, young and old, in their colorful working-clothes, weeding or hoeing in the fields and now pausing in their work to smile and wave to us in the train; the girls by the riverside, with their up-drawn petticoats, washing the heavy homespun linen by slapping it on big smooth rocks; the woodsmen floating freshly felled logs down the river; the barefoot, sturdy children paying before the houses-they all seemed to me inextricably and eternally an important, indigenous part of the scenery, the beauty-pattern, the deep harmony of Carniola.
I was glad to be back. My reaction to the beauty of Carniola, of course, was enhanced by the fact that it was my native land. I felt like shouting greetings to the peasants in the fields along the railroad.
 There was another general impression that I got on the train. Carniola seemed so very, very small. I remembered, for instance, that in my boyhood a trip from Lublyana to Trieste to Lublyana in a couple of hours by a slow train, humorously called an express, and we thought it was a short trip. The train stopped every few minutes in villages and small towns, which I suddenly recalled at least by names. With my consciousness of distances in the United States, and with the tens of thousands of miles that stretched behind me over the American continent and over two oceans, the distances in Carniola now seemed scarcely one-tenth of what I had thought them to be nineteen years before. Carniola had shrunk from an Austrian province to hardly more than a big Western ranch or a small national park in America.
When , toward evening, we arrived in Lublyana, which once upon a time I had considered a large city, it, too-with its 75,000 inhabitants-impressed means a very small place; for I had behind me New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Chicago.
I had an impulse to go from Lublyana right on to my native village, not far from the city, but since I had written to my people that we would not come till Sunday afternoon, we let the ban's representative put us up for the night at one of the hotels.
After dinner, Stella went to bed, but I couldn't.
I went out and walked in the dimly-lit, quiet, almost deserted streets till past midnight, and discovered, to my great satisfaction, that, like the rest of Carniola, Lublyana, too, had not changed in its essentials; indeed, hardly even in its superficial aspects. The World War and the change from Austria to Yugoslavia did not touch it.
The old Roman wall seemed a little more crumbled than I remembered it, and in the middle of the city a twelve-story nebotichnik (skytoucher) was being build. But there were the same bridges over the River Lublyanica; the same nine-hundred-year-old fort and castle on the hill, now lit up at night; the same five-hundred-year-old City Hall, except that in place of the stature of the Emperor Francis Joseph in front of it there was now a new stature of the late King Peter of Serbia. There were the same old churches and monuments to writers, grammarians, musicians, orators, and poets; the same old stores, with the same old signs over the doors. Here, I remembered, I used to buy rolls and apples for my midday lunch; here, my occasional piece of cake or chocolate; here, in this two-hundred-year-old bookshop, my books; and here my mother used to come shopping for drygoods once in a fortnight. ("She probably still does," I said to myself.) And here was the school I had gone to; here the house I had roomed in for two years; and here the theater where I had seen my first Shakespearan performance. Everything came back to me, and once more Lublyana was an important, vital part of my life.
Here were street-sweepers, old men with long birch brooms, sweeping the street at night in the same old way. Here was a lamplighter with his tall pole, now, toward midnight, putting out some of the lights. Here I almost bumped into a black little fellow, a chimneysweep! and, amused at myself, I swiftly grabbed a button on my coat, for in my boyhood I had shared the folk superstition that to hold onto a button when meeting a chimneysweep meant good luck.
Here glowed the curtained windows of an old coffee-house. I entered and ordered a coffee, just to make sure its tables were occupied by the same types of men as nineteen years before, reading newspaper, playing chess and dominoes, talking, talking, talking in low tones so as not to disturb those who read or played chess. Here was stability; or so it seemed.
I returned to the hotel tired, inwardly excited, deeply content.

Tired as I was, I didn't fall asleep till after daylight. A tenseness, not unpleasant, from which I could not relax, held my body, and my mind throbbed with new impressions, newly stirred memories, thoughts of tomorrow.My mother --how did she look? This, suddenly, was very important. When I had left, she was still on the sunny side of middle life, "rather tall," as I described her in my autobiographical narrative Laughing in the Jungle, "with a full bust and large hips; long arms and big, capable hands; a broad, sun-browned, wind-creased Slavic face; large, wide-spaced hazel eyes, mild and luminous with simple mirth; and wavy auburn hair which stuck in little gold-bleached wisps from under her colored kerchief, tied below her chin." That was how I remembered her. Now she was in her late fifties; she had borne thirteen children, raised ten, and worked hard without pause all her life. Our house? It was over six hundred years old, but with the possible exception of a new roof it probably was unchanged since I last saw it.
On coming down the next morning, Stella and I saw two tall young men in the middle of the otherwise deserted hotel lobby. They did not see us immediately. One of them nervously paced up and down. The other furiously smoking a cigarette.
"They must be your brothers!" breathed Stella. We stopped on the stairs. "They resembled you terribly," she added; "only they're handsome--Lord, they're handsome!"
 Then the boys saw us, too. They recognized me, and their broad, bronzed faces split into big white-toothed grins. They rushed toward me, I rushed down, and we collided at three of us at once. Then Stella joined us, too. We didn't say a word for minutes; we just laughed.
They were France and Yozhe, my two kid brothers, Gymnasium students; only, unlike myself in my time, they did not room and broad in Lublyana, but came in daily by train. Basically, however, beneath the thin crust of city polish they were young peasants, strong and healthy, exuding vitality, each with a pair of enormous hands. Looking at them, I had a weird-happy feeling. It was as if I looked in a magic mirror and saw myself at once twelve and sixteen years younger. Stella and I could not take our eyes off them. They spoke a little German and some French, and Stella could exchange a few words with them. But at first they could hardly talk at all, due to excitement only partly under control.
By and by they explained to me that mother had sent them to Lublyana on the early-morning train with orders to find us in the city and fetch us home on the first afternoon train without fail.
France said, "The whole village--the whole valley, in fact--is excited as it never was before. For a week now nobody in the seventeen villages of our county has talked of anything but your homecoming, and the talk has already spread to other countries. In our valley the circulation of city newspapers has increased a hundredfold. Everybody has read about you. Everybody wants to see you. The girls and women want to know what sort of girl you married. You're the first from our valley to marry an Amerikanka. It's a sensation. At home, in our house, of course, they are all beside themselves. None of us have had a decent night's sleep for a week. Mother, Paula, and Poldka--they sleep in the same room--scarcely closed their eyes for three or four nights, talking, speculating. Last night they spoke of the killing our newest bull-calf to celebrate the return of the prodigal, but the calf, poor thing, is only two weeks old and as yet not particularly 'fatted'--so they decided to wait a week or two, till it gets a little closer to the scriptural weight."
 We laughed for several minutes. I was unable to translate France's words to Stella till later.
I began to realize that during these nineteen years I, in America, had meant much more to my people than they, remaining in the old country, had meant to me. In the excitement of my life in America, I had lost nearly all feeling for them and for the old country in general. To them, on the other hand, I had been their own intrepid Marco Polo who had ventured from tiny Carniola into the big world at the age of fourteen. Now, after long years, I was coming home! And according to the newspapers, I had become a great man in the big world. I had become "famous," and thereby I had brought renown to their hitherto unknown, microscopic Carniola!
In the afternoon, going home in the train, Stella an I talked about this.
"It's very fun!" she said.
"Of a sudden," I said, "I'm a big frog in a tiny pond!"

 At the little country railroad station, which is in the village next to ours and which seemed ten times smaller than I recalled it, stood a crowd of people-elderly peasants, women, young men, girls, children, all in their Sunday best, some of the men in coat-sleeves, some of the girls in costumes of the region.
They stood in silence, save that some of the girls giggled. I didn't know any of them; only a few faces seemed faintly familiar.
It was a grand, sweet, painful moment.
Here and there, a we walked from the train, one of the young men struck out his paw to me and said, "Pozdravlyen!" (greetings!) Remember me? I'm So-and-so.
I remembered him, then we laughed, and there was a loud murmur in the crowd.
The two young men who looked very much alike and resembled France, Yozhe, and myself stepped out of the crowd. My two other brothers, a little older than France and Yozhe, and even a little taller. One of them was better-looking than all the other three put together. Stella let out a little shriek of delight. We shook hands.
"I am Stan," said the older one, grinning. He had a tremendous hand, but his grip and the look in his eyes with which he greeted me had the gentleness of a truly strong person.
"I am Ante," said the other, also grinning. He was the handsomest, but like Stan, young peasant without city education or polish.
Then all five of us brothers and Stella laughed for all we were worth, and the crowd joined in.
"Where are mother and father and the girls?" I asked.
"At home, all of them," said Stan.
 And, I don't know why, but we all laughed again, and we walked home through the fields and meadows, with a mob of young boys and many dogs behind us. The valley seemed very, very small to me, and very beautiful. Spring was late and things were just beginning to grow. In the bright green of the meadows were big splashes of yellow buttercups and purple clover ahum with bees. Along the ditches grew forget-me-nots in great abundance, and in the shade of a row of hazel bushes I noticed more lilies-of-the valley in one spot than I had seen during all my nineteen years in America.
For a minutes everything threatened to go soft in me and I barely managed to hold back my tears.
In Blato, our village, was another, smaller crowd. I recognized a few faces. There were two or three uncles, and as many aunts and scores of cousins, some of whom had come from other villages, but no one said anything. With deep innate tact, they let me hurry on to our house.   

The sight of my mother, who waited for me (as I recalled in that instant) on the same spot in the courtyard of our home where I had said good-by to her in 1913, gave me a sharp sting. She had aged and her body had shrunk; her hair was gray and thin, her eyes and cheeks were sunken, but her hug told me she was still hale and strong.
Suddenly I was sorry that I hadn't written to her oftener. I wanted to say something, but what was there to say? What could anyone say in a moment like this? She herself said nothing. She smiled a little and, holding my hands stiffly in front of her, her body swayed a little, right and left, in sheer, unwordable happiness.
My father, also gray and shrunken, offered me a trembling, wrinkled hand, but on the whole, despite his age, was well and in full possession of his faculties. He smiled and said, "You have come at last. We greet you, son."
And there were the girls. Four of them stood against the wall of the house.
 "I am Tonchka, said my oldest, married sister, who had come from Belgrade to be home when I arrived. She looked like a young matron.
"I am Paula," -my next-to-the-oldest sister. Great coils of brown hair were wound around her head. A tragic love-affair, of which I learned subsequently, had etched into her face, which was lovely before, a beauty that now causes a crisis in my vocabulary.
"I am Poldka," - my third sister, a vivacious, open-faced human being in national costume. Two thick light-brown braids hung down her back. She was the only one who gave way to emotion and cried a little. "I'm so glad!"
"I am Anica,"-my youngest sister, the baby of the family, a reticent, shy young girl whom, like Yozhe, I had never seem before.
Finally, a nun appeared in the doorway above the stairs-my sister Mimi, now called Manuela. This was her first visit home since her ordination a year before. A victim of confused feelings, I ran up to her. She said nothing; she smiled; a young Madonna face, if a face was ever entitled to be called that. We shook hands. I had been told a moment before that because she was a nun I could not embrace or kiss her. I could shake hands with her only because I was her brother. I looked at her-at the oval, smooth, serene face, with its lively blue eyes and glowing red cheeks, under the broad starched white headgear of her order - and couldn't (and can't yet) understand why she became a nun.
After a while we all trooped into the house, in which all ten of us had been born, and before us our father and grandfather and our ancestors for I don't know how many generations back. But for some improvements here and there. The house had not changed; only, of course, with my consciousness of the Empire State Building and the interior of the Grand Central in New York City, it seemed much smaller to me than I had thought it was.
I noticed that mother and sisters used the same sort of utensils in the kitchen as were used in 1913. There were the same old tile stoves downstairs and upstairs; the same beds, table, chairs, benches, and chests; the same pictures and ornaments on the walls. Upon the window-sills were flower-pots with flowers just beginning to bud. Throughout the house new curtains, bedspreads, and table covers had been spread and hung for my homecoming. They were my sister's handwork-lace and embroidery. Exquisite designs and color combinations.
In the large-room, the big table was set with a great bowl of forget-me-nots in the center. There was food wine for all of us, and we sat down and tried to eat and drink, but, to mother's dismay, none of us was very successful. We were all too excited and happy, too full of emotions for which we had no expression.
"They're lovely," said Stella, which I translated to Paula.
 "Yes," said Paula; "there are so many of them this year that one could take a scythe and mow them like grass or clover." She smiled again, "I guess it's all in your honor, and your wife's."
Stella, understanding almost nothing of what was said, found herself in an awkward position. I translated some of the conversation to her. Everybody looked at her and tried to please her. I was discreetly questioned as to her family. Of course, unable to speak her language, it was as awkward for them as for her. But after a while she and they developed a system of hands-and-eyes language with which they managed to communicate some of their simpler thoughts to one another without my aid.
Essentially a simple, straightforward person, Stella won my people from the start. My sister Poldka said to me, "You have no idea, we were all so scared that you-a famous writer-would come home with some stiff, haughty foreign dame, and now, I guess, you can imagine how relieved we all are. How I wish I could talk with her!"
And Stella said to me, "It's almost unbelievable, this family of yours-the sort of family one could write a saga about. I thought that, having let you go to America at fourteen, they were and would be indifferent to you. But now I see they love you without being possessive. I suppose that, peasant-like, they accepted your gong to America the same way as they accept any other trick of fate, without changing their basic affection for you ; when you didn't write for a long time, that was another trick of fate for them to accept; but it really made no difference so far as caring for you was concerned. I think it's wonderful to be that way . Please tell them I love them all."
I told them.
"Hvala lepa," said mother and Poldka. The others said nothing. They grinned and lowered their eyes. Poldka, who, as I say, is the most free-spoken in the family, said, "Tell her for us that we love her, too. We could just hug her, even though we have no practice in hugging."
I translated this to Stella. We all laughed again.


 It was a bright, warm Sunday afternoon, with a light mountain breeze blowing through the valley. The literati mixed with the villagers, praised the village, exclaimed over the beauty of the fields and the meadows, and raved about the prodigal's sisters and brothers.
The foremost poet was pleased to the verge of tears when a little peasant girl, urged by my sister Poldka, stepped before him and recited his most famous poem. Pleased, too, was the leading novelist when a peasant woman brought him a copy of one his books and asked him to "write something in it with your own hand."
 My sister Paula and mother were in the kitchen, both happy beyond utterance. France and Yozhe, coatless and beaproned, brought out the plates (borrowed from the whole village) and platters heaped with pieces of the fatted calf. ("Poor thing!" said Stella, who, three days before had seen it alive in the barn.) Stan and Ante poured the wine. Poldka pinned forget-me-nots and lilies-of-the valley on the garments of the guests. My youngest sister, Anica, brought on the bread and the cakes. Tonchka and Manuela had had to return to Belgrade.
The feast lasted all afternoon. The mountain breeze shook the apple blossoms upon the tables and heads of the guests. There was much light, irresposible talk and laughter around the tables. No whispering. Dictatorship or no: it did not matter that Sunday afternoon. By and by, the villagers and the literati began to sing Slovenian national songs about love, wine and beautiful regions.
Stella exclaimed: " I wish my mother were here! And my brother, and Seren and Meta" --the whole crew of her girl friends in America.
 "And Ben and Kyle and Carey..." I began to enumerate my friends back in the United States.
During a lull in the singing, the poet rose, glass in a hand, and everyone became silent to hear him. He spoke awhile of the fine afternoon, the breeze from the mountains, the apple blossoms, the fatted calf, the wine in his glass, into which the petal of an apple blossom had fluttered as he talked. He eulogized the village, its people, and especially my mother and father, and referred to the fields and meadows around the village in words of sheer poetry. Finally he came to "the prodigal" and spoke of his departure for America and his return. It is not possible for me to give his words. It was all I could do to hold back my tears.
The poet ended, "Let us drain our glasses!"
 The glasses were drained and some one began another song.

- - - - -



Biographical Note 

You can read it almost completely in Japanese by Shozo Tahara,
I'll translate it here later to be more complete one.



Adamic produced twenty novels and other books,
and more than 500 articles in English, Slovenian,
Selvo-Cloatian, and Russian for only 25 years.
Japanese EBOOK



Yerney's Justice

Ivan Cankar, Yerney's Justice,

translated by Adamic
(New York: Vanguard Press,1926)

This book is the first edition of Slovenian writer, Ivan Canker's Hlapec Jerney* in English. Canker is


Louis Adamic, August 23,1926
San Pedro, Cal.

Dear Friend:
I have read the little book with very great interest and I agree with you that it is beautiful. I am wondering how you can appreciate and translate such a work and at the same time write in exactly the opposite vein. The character that you dealt with in your story was open to exactly the same kind of treatment that has been given to Yerney. You might have seen that poor fellow (I mean your own hero) likewise as a symbol of the blindly protesting working class. Instead you treated him without even a particle of pity.
Don't think that I am "rubbing" it in. Unless I am misjudging the situation it is a question of your whole future attitude toward life. I am trying to save your soul!
By the way, I wonder if you have read my "Samuel the Seeker". I was struck by the resemblance of the theme of this story with Yerney.

Sinclair (Upton Sinclair)


*"Ten Letter to Louis Adamic" by Henry A. Christian.
These unpublished letters are including Upton Simclair, H.L.Mencken, Mary Austin, Carl Sandburg, Granville Hicks, Henry S. Canby, Robinson Jeffers, Sherwood Anderson, and John Dos Passos.

* Ivan Cankar 


"My chief literary influence has been Ivan Cankar, a Slovenian novelist, one of whose stories (Yerney's Justice)"Adamic says in Twentieth CentryAuthours,1956.



Superman -The American Mercury, Nov 1927

C/o Guaranty Trust co.
1 Rue des Italiennes

Dear Mr. Adamic / April 2nd.1929

    I've been meaning to offer my congratulations for months on Superman. I think it's one of the best American short stories in some years---very vivid and fascinating. Seeing you in the Mercury again this month reminded me of it.

  Most Appreciatively Yrs
  F Scott Fitzgerald

-H. Christian,Fitzgerald andSuperman:An Unpublished Letter to Louis Adamic,Fitzgerald News letter, No.31Fall,1965






Robinson Jeffers : A Portrait

(Seattle: university of Washington Book store Seattle, 1929,Reprinted 1969 32pgs)

 I think Adamic's short book is unexcelled as a description of the man and the work he did up the late twenties. Concise and unpretentious, it is perceptive and written with an eye for significant details. Rereading the book, I am reminded of qualities my father had that I took for granted and did not think of as distinctive in those days.

R. J. : Robinson Jeffers : A Portrait. Covelo, California: The Yolla Bolly Press,1983. Foreword by Garth Jeffers (one of Jeffers' twin sons which offers significant passages concerning Adamic's book about the poet).

(JEFFERS). ADAMIC, LOUIS. A PORTRAIT... With Foreword by Garth Sherwood Jeffers. Covelo: Yolla Bolly Press, [1983]. 8vo, xiv, (2), 32pp. Cloth, illus, a fine uncut copy. 250 copies printed. USD 100.00 [Appr.: EURO 77.75 | £UK 53.5 | JP\ 10800]-- Dailey Rare Books. Book number: 317. 

Foreword by Garth Sherwood Jeffers. Illus. from photographs. 9?x6, gray cloth, paper spine & cover labels, glassine. No. 194 of 265 copies printed by the Yolla Bolly Press.
Signed by Garth Jeffers in the colophon. Fine printing of the biographical sketch of Robinson Jeffers first published in 1929, with a nice selection of photographs of Jeffers and his family.


 Critics-"local people," as he calls them-eager to do justice to Jeffers' significance as a poet, try to establish a kinship between his work and Whitman's. Their eagerness is justified, but wild. Whitman's and Jeffers' statures as poets may stand comparisons, but aside from their sizes they are as unlike as day and night. Indeed, the emergence of Jeffers, and that he is hailed as a major poet and prophet, is a severe commentary upon Whitman's dream of America.(pp34-5) -L Adamic


Dynamite : The Story of Class Violence in America 1830-1934

(New York: Viking, 1931; London: Cape, 1931; revised edition, New York: Viking, 1934 495pgs)

Dynamite: The Story of Class Violence in America 
London: Johnathan Cape, 1931. With an introduction by S.K.Ratvliffe

Paperback: Rebel P. ,London December, 1984



The fascinating & largely forgotten history of class struggle in America. It is the story of the brutal exploitation, the massacres &judicial murders directed against workers. It is also the story of how they responded: at first with peaceful strikes but later with dynamite, sabotage & riots. Everyone's here: anarchists, commies, Wobblies & others. An extremely inspirational & informative read. (1931-84) D16 -- Rebel -- 224p. 12.00 leftbankbooks.com/

The classic - and criminally, now almost forgotten - history of class struggle during America's industrial beginnings. A story of brutal exploitation, massacres, and judicial murder - and how the largely European immigrant workforce fought back. The Molly Maguires, propaganda by the deed, Haymarket, Homestead, the Wobblies, Mooney-Billings, Sacco & Vanzetti, and much, much more. "DYNAMITE! Of all the good stuff, that is the stuff! Stuff several pounds of this sublime stuff into an inch pipe...plug up both ends, insert a cap with a fuse attatched, place this in the immediate vicinity of a lot of rich loafers who live by the sweat of other people's brows, and light the fuse. A most cheerful and gratifying result will follow. In giving dynamite to the downtrodden millions of the globe science has done its best work..." (from 'Alarm', 21 February 1885] http://www.amazon.co.jp/



Dinamit: povijest klasnog nasilja u Americi. Translated by Dr.Brako Kojic. Zagreb: "Binoza," 1933


Dinamit, by bogdan Gradisnik, Ljubljana,Borec,1983(with introductions by Ivan Bratko and Janes Stanonik, and a biography and bibliography of Louis Adamic by Jemeja Petric).



 1 "Impudent Conduct"
 2 The Molly Maguires
 3 The Great Riots Of 1877

 4 An Apostle of Terrorism Come To America
 5 The Stage Is Set For The Heymarket Tragedy
 6 The First Bomb
 7 The Labor Movement Become a "Racket"
 8 Criminals are Drawn into the Class War

 9 The Homestead Strike
 10 Coxey's Army
 11 "The Debs Rebellion"
 12 Violence in the West
 13 The Reddening Dawn Of The Twentieth Century
 14 "To Hell With The Constitution"
 15 The Murder Trial in Idaho 16 The Wobblies

17 General, Capital-Labor Situation: 1905-1910
 18 The A. F. of L. Dynamiters
 19 The Plot to Dynamite The Los Angeles
 20 The Explosion-And After 21 "Frame-Up!"
 22 The Trial And The Political Campain
 23 "The Boys" Confess and Gompers Weeps
 24 The A. F. of L. Loses Its Militancy

25 Slaughter East and West
 26 The Mooney-Billings Frame-Up
 27 The Great Steel Strike
 28 The Centralia Outrage
 29 Sacco and Vanzetti - "Those Anarchistic Mastards"

30 Labor and the Beginnings of "Racketeering"
 31 Racketeering As A Phase of Class Conflict
 32 Sabotage and "Striking on the Job"
 33 What Next-More Dynamite?









Laughing in the Jungle : The Autobiography of an Immigrant in America

(New York & London :Harper,1932 335pgs)


Smeh v dzungli:autobiografija ameriskega priseljenca by Stanko Leben, 1933

Smijeh u dzungli: autobiografija jednog americkog by Dr.Branko Kojic. Zagreb: "Bnoza," 1933

Vrnitev v rodni krai, by mira Mihelic, Ljubljana: Cankarjeva zalozba,1962 (with the author's biography by Mira Mihelic).
* Sarajevo: Stejacka Knjiga, 1952. The "Binoza" edition

reprinted in Cyrillic. 

Un Rire Dans La Jungle: L'autographie d'un immigrant en Amerique by Alice P. Pouilloux French

Jangulu no naka no warai by Shozo Tahara Japanese
Introduction; Beyond Dreiser: Louis Adamic's Laughing in the Jungle by Henry A Christian



Americanci in Carniola
 U "Do Not Got to America"
 V I Go to America

Steve Radin
 X New Year's Eve in New York
 Y The Jungle
 Z Steve Radin (continued)
My Own People in America

To Make the World Safe--
The Man with the Big Head
Blakelock in Command
Koska and the "Flu"
Blakelock Makes a Gesture

After the War
 ]Y My First day in Los Angeles
The Enormous Village
Lonie Burton-Still a Crusader
The "Assassin" of Woodrow Wilson
A soft Job-and Mencken

The Man with a Soul
 ]]U A Bohunk Woman
 ]]V Steve Radin (concluded)
 ]]W America and Myself


 To America from a village in the province of Carniola, now a part of Yugoslavia, in 1913 came Louis Adamic, a boy of 14...His new book, first backgrounding his story with several chapters depicting his boyhood in his village home, narrates his life in this country for the almost two decades he has been living here. But it is hardly an autobiography of the conventional sort, for, although it outlines his movements and deals briefly with the many and highly varied jobs he has undertaken, his theme is less himself and his life than it is the country in which he has been living, which, for him, is the 'jungle' of his title. The United States, he says, 'is more a jungle than a civilization--a land of deep economic, social, spiritual and intellectual chaos and distress, in which by far the most precious possession a sensitive and intelligent person can have is an active sense of humor.' -N Y Times   

 Mr.Adamic has an abiding sense of human dignity, and to my mind he touches greatness as a story-teller ... he is no mere autobiographer. It is through other men's struggles, through their conflict of values, that we catch, fleetingly yet clearly, his own adventure. This seemingly unconscious technique of mirrored self-portraiture is done so almost perfectly that it is the reader who limns the portrait of the artist" -Benjamin Stolberg in the N.Y.Herald Tribune

It is by all odds the best story about and by an immigrant that I have ever read-and I read every word of it with unflagging interest. -R. L. Dufflus.

 "Adamic has a magnificient authenticity which makes his writing very wrong. He is a literate Bohunk who is still a Bohunk; an American proletarian who tells a story with the directness of a hobo beside a camp fire. He is singularly creedless, without a touch of Mary Antin sentimentality or of class-conscious propaganda. He tells what he has seen, in stories." -Lewis Gannet

 "A vitally interesting book, an important book: the sanest account of an immigrant's experience we have ever had; the only one I know in which the raw matter of fact has been given a twice-truthful statement by a man who exhibits, instinctively, the restraint of an artist." -Evelyn Scott.

 "No one can quarrel with Mr.Adamic's wise conclusions, with the high spirits of his report on American life as an immigrant found it, with the appealing simplicity and healthiness of his nature. He came here when he was fourteen years old, and the simplicity and frankness of his nature, the realistic honesty of his attitude toward men and events he seems to have brought with him. What he learned in America was how to write. He writes well, with a strong clarity and an easy eloquence. He emerges from this book a good guy." -William Soskin in the N.Y. Evening Post.

 "I was entirely charmed with the book. Not only is the material interesting and a valuable contribution to one's knowledge of one's country, but I find the story clear and convincing and with a very pleasing quality. There is penetration in his point of view. I hope it has the success it deserves." -Mary Austin.

 A grand bookthe music and color of life on its lower levels. - James Stevens, author of "Paul Bunyan"






 "To the reviewers and critics of Laughing in the Jungle in Yugoslavia" (1932) from Louis Adamic

 My book is described on the title page an autobiography. It is an autobiography in a limited but essential sense of the word.
The first part of the book deals with my early years in Slovenia, with circumstances which promoted me to go the United States, etc. What I tell is only essentially. While the book is ostensibly a personal narrative, my aim in writing it was to give it a touch of universality: that is, by telling my personal story, I wanted to tell also the story-more or less-of other immigrants from Slovenia.
You will see, too, that use the Lunder-Adamic incident in a disguised way.
My purpose was to write an interesting book; at the same time a true one--not necessarily in its details, but essentially.
I request that you bear this in mind.
I make the same request to the possible translator of the volume into the Slovenian.

(It is interesting that Adamic has already had his aim in writing it was to give it a touch of universality - S Tahara.)

*He won a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction sponsored by Sinclair Lewis, H. L. Mencken, Mary Austin, the anthologist E. J. O'Brien and Carl Sandburg.







The Native's Return: An American Immigrant Visits Yugoslavia and Discovers His Old Country


Bestseller 1930's-40's

The Book-of-the Month Club selection
for February 1934

The Fiction Editor of the Record noted this abridgement of this book was "the first non-fiction book of ever run as the Book of the Week."

(New York & London :Harper,1934; London: Gollancz, 1934 370pgs)
Louis Adamic. The Native's Return. Armed Services Edition [B-54]. UVa.

Hemkomsten: En Emigrant Upptacker Sitt Gamla Fosterland. By Valdemar Georg Langlet. Stockholm: Bokforlaget Natur Och kultur,1934.



The Native's Return was banned in his homeland and people were imprisoned for merely possessing the book.


 There was a touch of spring in the air. The bird were flying back from the south. Carniola looked very lovely.... Near the track, as our train sped Trieste-ward, we saw a peasant plowing. He looked like my brother Stan, tall husky, bent over the plow-handles. There was a great dignity in his task. As we passed him he reached the end of a furrow. He glanced up and waved. I had an enormous lump in my throat. --The Native's Return



After Nineteen Year
My Cousin Tone Marries
Death Waits for My Uncle Yanez
We Stay in Carniola
Mr. Guggenheim and I Become a Legend

A Village of Lonely Women
Montenegro in the Daytime
Dalmatia-A Peasant Riviera
A City Suspended in Space
"Here the Clock Was Set Back"
The Epic of Kossovo

A "Boom" Town
Trouble in Croatia
A Peasant Genius
"Doctor Hercules"
I Meet the King-Dictator

Back to America



 I began to realize that during these nineteen years I, in America, had meant much more to my people than they, remaining in the old country, had meant to me. In the excitement of my life in America, I had lost nearly all feeling for them and for the old country in general.


 In Zagreb, between visits to villages, I met a number of interesting people who were more than local or national figures.
 One of these was Miroslav Krleza, a Croat writer, who, although little known as yet outside the Slavic countries of eastern, southeastern, and central Europe, incontestably is one of the most powerful contemporary writers in the world, .Another was Mme. Milka Ternina, who in the '90's and early 1900's probably was the most eminent exponent of the soprano parts of Wagner. Thirty years ago the opera-going world of the Continent, London, and New York was at her feet. In 1899 men drew her carriage through the streets of Bayreuth. In 1906 an accident resulted in a serious nervous affliction on her face and she retired from the profession to strict privacy in an old house in Zagreb, which is near her native village. A woman of great simplicity and dignity, she said she could not understand why I should want to see her. "I am just an old woman." She had just past her seventieth year and was not very well. She recalled her successes in the Metropolitan Opera, but thought no one in New York remembered her any more.



 'The Native's Return' has a value and an interest beyond that offered by any mere record of travel, however absorbing, for it carries upon it, as every really vital book must, the record in the true sense, in that it reflects its author' s state of mind, gives meaning to his experience, invests his book with the qualities simply of what Louis Adamic saw and heard but of what these things meant to him.






Had I remained in Slovenia and become a Slovenian writer, I could not possibly have published a book that would have infuriated King Alexander, thrown the Belgrade Foreign Office into panic, and generally had the effect of a blow at tyranny. My America P135  

* * *

 December 16 1933 -Last night The N.R. is the Book-of -the-Month selection for February! In one month some fifty thousand copies will be distributed. Stera terribly happy.... I guess my financial worries are over-for a while, anyhow. Suddenly I feel very calm.

 December 19-Yesterday I received my check from the Book-of -the-Month. More money than I had ever thought I would ever have.Today I mailed out nine checks, paying all my debts! Lord! It feels wonderful!. 


Following The publication of The Native's Return, Lewis Gannet remarked to me on several occasions that he had difficulty in believing any place could be quite so nice as I described my native Carniola to be; and in the summer of 1935 he and his wife, Ruth, also a skeptic, took a trip there to "check up" on me. When they returned to New York their criticism swung the other way: I had understand the scenic loveliness of Carniola and the charm of the people, the Slovenians, who inhabit it!--My America 







A Story of Terror Under King Alexander's DictatorshipYugoslavia; a Pamphlet

Slovenian version by Edvard Kardelj, translated into English by Louis Adamic; Preface by L Adamic,

(Arthur Whipple, Publisher 1169 North Virgil Avenue Los Angeles,California,1934)



Most of the material contained in this brochure first appeared in the September, 1933, issue of "New Masses." An editorial based upon the story here entitled "Struggle" was printed in "The New Republic for August 16, 1933. The background of the story is fully presented in Louis Adamic's latest book, "The Native's Return," which was the February, 1934, selection of the Book-of-the Month Club.
Preface Louis Adamic (Associate of CICPP)
Wood Engravings by Elizabeth Whipple
A Letter Of Protest--The following is a letter of protest - based upon material contained in this brochure - that a special committee of American intellectuals(48) organized by Roger N. Baldwin, Chairman of the International Committee for Political Prisoners, Room 412, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York, sent to Dr. Leonide Pitamic, the Yugoslav Minister in Washington, on November 24, 1933.


Publication & Translation:

"White Terror : A Case History." New Republic, 16 August , 1933 ,

"What It Means to Be a Communist In Yugoslavia." New Masses, 9 ( Sept. 1933 ), 38 ;

Struggle : Translated from the Yugoslav by Louis Adamic :With a Preface by the Translator. Los Angeles : Arthur Whipple , 1934. Wood engravings by Elizabeth Whipple. Contents:Acknowledgement", " Preface," " Struggle," "A Letter of Protest,".

"Torture in Belgrade : A first Hand Document Revealing What It Means to Be a Communist or a National Revolutionist in Yugoslavia." In George Dimitroff , Pierre Van Passen , and Louis Adamic , George Dimitroff , Pierre Van Passen , Louis Adamic on the Bloody Fascist Terror in the Balkans. Detroit : Macedonian People s League of America,ca.1934, pp . 5-15 ; ( follows W. paginatin for New Masses printig above ) .

Struggle : Translated from the Yugoslav by Louis Adamic: With a Preface by the Translator. New York : Reprinted by Tommorow, Publishers, 1935 .

"Borba." Borba , p.2 of the issues of April 21 , 23 , 25 , 28 , 30 , and May 2 , 5, 7, and 9, 1936;

Portion of chapter "he Communists." In My Native Land. New York and London: Harper, 1943,

Boj : prevedel iz sloven? c ine in predgovor napisal Louis Adamic . Trans. Jo? e Stabej. Introd. Ivan Brayko. Ljubljana : Dr? avna Zalo? ba Slovenije , 1969. Photographs .

Borba : Iz slovenac kog preveo i predgovor napisao Louis Adamic . Trans. Milena Rakoc evic . Introd. Ivan Bratko. Ljuljana : Dra? avna Zalo? ba Slovenije , 1969. Photographs .

Henry A. Christian,"Adamic's Struggle: The International History of a "Radical" Pamphlet", in Janez Stanonik.ed., Louis Adamic: Simpozij: Symposium (Ljubjiana: Tiskala Univerzitetna tiskarna, 1981)

(Introduction in Japanese translation by Shozo Tahara - Adamic's Struggle: The International History of a "Radical" Pamphlet-*New vertion,1993 -by Henry A. Christian)


Henry A. Christian says "prime example of revolutionary or radical literature"


Dear Mr.Tahara,

    Thank you for all your notes and cards lately. I am sorry I have not been able to answer; I have been doing too much, and not all of it well at all. All your news is good, and I am of course willing to help you in any way I can. Did I send you a card at Chrismas from London and say that? I hope so.
    Now to this mailing: I enclose here a copy of Struggle; it is the first edition. I enclose also a copy of my article about Struggle, for which I in part received an award at the 1981 symposium. I have added a short author's note on the last next page in order to make a comment on the state of the world in the former Yugoslav territories. I think this article together with Struggle make a fine combination; but it is of course up to your whether you want to translate both and print them together. As for an introduction to Grandsons, I promise that shortly. But just now I am very tied up in preparing to go to Slovenia to lecture for two weeks, sponsored by the American government and our embassy in Ljubljana. I'll write you more on that soon, but just now I must go back to intensive work. I wish I had answered sooneryou are so very important to me and our work is important to the worldbut I keep trying to remember that I am only one man.

    Best wishes my friend,

Henry Christian




Lucas, king of The Balucas


(Los Angeles: Arthur Whipple,1935.Limited to 350 copies. Wood Engravings by Elizabeth Whipple
The front inside fold of a dust wrapper for the book described Adamic' s work as "The story of a Curious Monarch" and gave the price of the volume as $1.00.)

Publication & Translation:

1 Phlipine Interlude (March,1930) Plain Talk
2 Kral Lukas (1931-32) by Grisa Koritnik Modra ptica
3 Philippinsches Zwischenspiel (June,1932) by
L.Mattersburger Der Wiener

4 Lucas, King of the Balucas (March,1935) Arthur Whipple
5 Lucas, Kral Balukov (1986) illustrated by Marijan
6 バルーカス族の王、ルーカス by Shozo Tahara, Preface:
Tine Kurent, Introduction: Henry A christian.


THE SHIP I TRAVELED ON WAS STOPPING A FEW hours in Manila. I radioed Weber, and he met me at the dock.
 "To meet you here today," he said, grinning, "it's been necessary for me let a kingdom starve."
 I said I didn't understand.
 He smiled again. "I'll take you to a quiet place where we can talk. -- Lucas, king of The Balucas



 Half a century ago, Louis Adamic, an American writer of Slovenian origin, published his story about King Lucas. After Adamic's demobilization at the end of the First World War--he was an American soldier--he "wandered over the world -- the whole of America, Mexico -- Hawaii, the Philippines, and the Far East looking for himself," -- as he later informed his sister Toncka back home in Slovenia. It was at that time the Conradesque story about the black natives and the white newcomers was written, but beneath the exotic aura of Pacific Islands there can be felt ideas that could have been written by "Tomlinson, McFee, W.H. Hudson, Cabell, Mencken." So they are listed by Adamic himself as the favorite writers of his friend. In Weber, his "alter ego", Adamic painted his own psychological and physical portrait.

 The story about King Lucas can be read on various levels and is still timely, because the relations between the hungry South and the rich North are becoming more strained every day. The insufficiency and futility of the charity offered by the Developed Nations to the lagging Third World is more and more evident.

Tine Kurent in Slovene translation Louis Adamic, "Lucas. Lralj Balukov" (Ljubljana: Presernova druzba,1986), p.16.
and illusrated by Marijan Amalietti.


Certainly the role of the United States in 1930 in the Philippines is implicit in the story. Yet what threatens Lucas as much as colonial neglect is not the white man but the localized trials of age, ignorance, famine, hypocrisy, politics, other Negrito tribes, and a bias perhaps initiated by troops who are as black as he. . In 1931, Adamic met the black scholar Abram Lincoln Harris. Co-author with Sterling Spero of Black Worker; The Negro and the Labor Movement, Harris later wrote The Negro as Capitalist (1937) and taught economics at Howard University in Washington, D. C. For the little book version of the Lucas story in 1935, Adamic decided the dedication page should read 'To Abram Harris'(p.[3]).





Grandsons :
A Story of American Lives

(New York & London: Harper,1935; London: Gollancz, 1935)

reprint. The Labor Movement In Fiction And Non-Fiction An AMS REPRINT SERIES 1982,1995. AMS PRESS New York


Vnuki: Zgodba iz ameriskih usod by Mira Mihelic. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva zalozba,1951.




Part One
 I Meet Peter Gale Twice in Nine Years
Part Two
 Then Peter Gale Really Talks To Me
Part Three
 I Glimpse Jack Gale And Andy Gale
Part Four

 Peter Briefly Escapes From Everything
Part Five
 Peter Returns And Promises To Join Me in Carniola




The originality of Mr.Adamic's point of view and his obvious sincerity and very genuine love for the country of his adoption give his book a real importance to all Americans, old or new. As a piece of reading matter, it is excellent because of the accuracy of the observation and of Mr.Adamic' ear for speech.--Herschel Brickell 

Grandsons earned mixed reviews. It was hardly a "radical" novel of the 1930s; still it was not complacent. Peter Gale's explanation of Jack Gale's dream-"the idea of one big union" to control national production and wealth and foster " a new moral and spiritual civilization"- was not exactly the promised Red Dawn of the decade. Adamic was satisfied to promise nothing, but instead to prod his readers with Jack Gale's question: "Peter, why did they do it?"-Henry A Christian 

Second generation Americans, children of immigrants of most nationalities, had a tendency to feel ashamed of their parents and repudiate their racial background, to draw away from people of their own blood; while third generation Americans, the immigrants' grandchildren, tended very strongly to return--or, rather, to seek out people of their racial strains and discover their backgrounds. It occurred to me this might be the case with Peter. He was shadowy, a shadow-person, no reality under or about him, just moving over the scene irrelevantly jumping about in chaosof all sorts, spiritual, economic. This was America, human America; this, at any rate, was the vast new element strewn all over the beautiful continent that had sprung out of the tight young womb of American's new machine industrialism, which fed and lived on intense materialism and frantic go-gettismthis stew of many races and many forces, which no one yet understood and few even tried to understand; races and forces all mixed, all tangled up in a thing called "American Civilization." 



Cradle of Life:
The story of One Man's Beginnings

(New York & London :Harper,1936; London: Gollancz, 1937)



 Dramatic tale of one Rudolf Stanislaus, an illegitimate child brought up by ignorant peasants in the hills of Croatia. When it was discovered that he was the son of a young Moravian countess and Prince Rudolf, son of a young the Emperor of Austria, he was taken by his own family to be educated as befitted a descendant of the nobility. -Book Review Digest 

 'Cradle of Life' is surely one of the most unusual novels of recent years, a story in which the melancholy Slav stalks the Croatian land ruminating on the misery of his people, in which the aristocratic and peasant nature of an Austrian Count Leo Tolstoy strives to find justice and faith for the down trodden and understanding of the rulers. And all of this hungry expression of social idealism is entertaining as the most blatant of your popular thrillers. - Wiliam Soskin


- Alfred Kazin

 …Much of the reading public understood the book as an aberration. Just how much, however poorly executed, it was to prove a part of their lives did not become clear until the rise of the Partisan movement in the 1940s and the emergence of Yugoslavia as a Third World country after it was expelled from the Russian orbit in 1948. -Henry Christian




The House in Antigua:
A restoration

(New York & London :Harper,1937; London: Gollancz, 1938 p ) Illustrated with Black and White Photographs.




 This is the story of a three-hundred-year-old house, now standing, partially restored, in Antigua, once the capital of Guatemala. After a brief introduction, relating how he came to visit the house, the author divides his work into three parts: a history of the house from earthquake in 1773 and thereafter to 1930; an account of the restoration accomplished by Dr Wilson Popenoe and his wife : and finally the story of the author's visit in 1936.

 Mr.Adamic has captured the spirit of Antigua as well as been captured by it. His literary restoration has a reverence and simplicity that matches the work of the Popenoes. As a result the book contains the timeless charm of its subject." -L. J. Halle. Jr.




Hello Shozo -

  Your website came up on my search engine this evening as I was researching Louis Adamic. I am so very impressed with you and the work that you are doing. I hope that you will be able to find a publisher in Japan.
Perhaps there is a political organization there which would be willing to help with funding. You have undertaken a great task which demonstrates both your ambition and your dedication.
  I myself have only read The House in Antigua. Until this evening, I did not know anything about him beyond the basics. As I learned how much he had produced, I became amazed at how dedicated and prolific he was. It was also only tonight that I learn of his suicide.
  I found myself crying that such a man should experience such despair that he would take his life. How can this be ? It is such a waste. Now I find that I want to know more about you...
  By the way, many Japanese visit in Antigua and I wonder if they would not be interested to read The House in Antigua. They would definitely enjoy Guatemala more if they could only read this book, don't you agree? It's just a thought, but perhaps you could find a publisher in Central America for a Japanese translation. There are many bookstores and shops for tourists in Antigua and other cities which might carry it.
  It would have to be a small printing, of course.
  Or - perhaps this and other books might be made available as e-books. I just bought my first one to read on my Palm Pilot. It is a reprint of an old book by Benjamin Franklin titled The Way to Wealth.
  I do not know what more to say except to encourage you to perserver. And should you have time, I would very much like to know a little more about you. Thank you for all you have done and for taking the time to read this.

D. Dineen





My America: 1928-38

(New York & London :Harper,1938; London: Hamilton, 1938 669pages)

The publication was made possible by the award of a Rockefeller Foundation grant-in aid.

A Da Capo Press Reprint Series: FRANKLIN D. ROOEVELT AND THE ERA OF THE NEW DEAL 1966,1976




One of 130,000,000 Americas

The Story of My Friend Cantrell

NEW YORK Stella First Book "Universal Genius" Dan Ben Stolberg Literary Rotary "Red" Lewis from My Diary

On Being of Two Worlds My Friend in Herzegovina My Friend Maxo Vanka

My Interest in the Immigrants A letter in the Immigrants A Letter I did Not Mail The Peril of the Alien as a Scapegoat Thirty Million New Americans "Foreigners" Are News in Cleverland The Immigrant Press From My Diary A Suggestion for an Encyclopedia

Tragic Town of New England: 1930 The Doorbell Rang: 1932 Family Life and the Depression: 1930-32 Bread Lines From My Diary The New Deal Calls Me The Great "Bootleg Coal" Industry Notes on the "Communists" and Some American Fundamentals My "Side"

I Witness the Earliest Beginnings of a New Labor Movement: 1934 The Cunning of Desperate Men: 1934 A.F. of L. sabotage in Rubber: 1934-35 Detroit: 1934-35--Anything to Beat the Unions Harry Bridges of San Francisco Cherries Are Red in San Francisco John L. Lewis' Push to Power The Sitdown and the Swift Growth of the C.I.O. What the C. I. O. Employer Talk with a C. I. O. Really Is My Friend Bob Weaver Suggests-- Notes on the Difficult Talk Facing the C. I. O.

Robinson Jeffers Mary Austin Harriet Monroe Man from New England Americans Drinking Honey John Girl on the Road Women Who Loved America Letters from My Friend My Friend in Hollywood

"Hello, Phil!" The Wisconsin Idea Jack Raper: Cleveland's Wasp of Virtue Walter Locke of Dayton: A Free Editor Arthur Morgan: Disciplined Pragmatist Black Mountain: An Experiment Education "The Next War" and Fascism, and America


Here I continue my American adventure in understanding,
my education as an American, which will go on, I dare say, as long as I breathe.

“My America 1928-1938”  L Adamic




 From Portland to Portland, from Detroit to the Gulf, from New York to Hollywood, there were patterns for all. In Louis Adamic's My America, a sprawling book of impressions by a writer whose immigrant past had given him an outsider's curiosity and a vibrant democratic fraternalism, America appeared as a strange but promising land that essentially "a process-long and endless." - Alfred Kazin On Native Ground

 A beautiful book, as American as 'Roughing It,' brought up to date. It is as though Mr.Adamic had taken the song 'America the Beautiful' and had played it on every kind of a musical instrument from a horse fiddle to a celestial harp, and by some magic had harmonized it all into a vast choral symphony. Which is to say that 'My America' is well worth reading, rereading, pondering, and engraving upon the heart of America. - W. A. White


Dear Louis Adamic     Nov9 1939

 I suspect that you may think me rather slow that I have just recently got to your book, MY AMERICA but, even though I am late I would like to tell you how fine I think it is.
 It may be Adamic that I am the more moved by the book because so often the stories I have myself tried to tell of American life, as I have felt it, have been called formless and I have so much been called a grouping [sic] man which of course I am.
 The point is that here, in your book, I find a man speaking who knows that we have to be that, that our civilization is all unformed, that none of us as yet know the answers.
 It seems to me a very fine thing you have done on this book and I am very grateful for it.

Sherwood Anderson


The Harvard Encyclopedia of America Ethnic Groups stars its Introduction with the statement that

"During the Great Depression of the 1930s,Louis Adamic, a popular writer and journalist, conceived of a project that he believed 'would excite all America about herself.' A'great Encyclopedia of the Population of the United States,from the Indians down to the latest immigrant group, 'would demonstrate 'in as great detail as possible, of what sort of human stuff America is made.' Such work, he wrote, 'might very well revolutionize American writing and affect all thinking about the United States. 'It' would be invaluable to thousands of...school principals and teachers...and librarians and social workers. In would appeal not only to New Americans and their immigrant parents...but to America as a whole'(My America,1938)."


* * *

A real mountain man, a Balkan Slav of the so-called Dinaric type, he had great natural dignity, an innate wholly unconscious pride He had in him the Slavic peasants' so-called "heart culture," which is deeper, more vital and dependable than culture acquired in schools. .. He seemed to at once infinitely tragic and infinitely heroic-a big human being-one of the finest I had ever experienced.

--After "The Native's Return"



Profiteers, Professional Patriots or "Vile Immigrant?"
L Adamic (COMMON SENSE April,1934) 






The chief and most important fact about the New Americans is that all too many of them are oppressed by feelings of inferiority in relation to their fellow-citizens of older stock, to the main stream of American life, and to the problem of life as a whole; which, of course, is bad for them as individuals, but since there are so many of them and their number is still rapidly increasing, even worse for the country.




From Many Lands


(New York & London :Harper,1939 1940 p )

The publication was made possible by funds granted by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

*John Anisfield award as "the most significant book of 1940 on race relations in the contemporary world"

Crisol de razas: Historia de los hombres de muchas tierras que hicieron la grandeza de estados unidos by Leon Mirlas. Bibloteca de Obras Famosas, Volumen88.Buenos Aires: Editorial Claridad,1942.


Doctor Eliot Steinberger
The Family and the Company
 Eliot's Early Years
 The Test and a Book
 What to Do With Himself?
 Doctor Steinberger--Continued

Manda Evanich from Croatia
 From Bohemia: Ma and Pa Karas
 The Finnish Americans
 The Meleskis: From Pomerania to Paradise
Greeks Came to Tarpon Springs
 The Tashjians: A Family from Armenia
The Old Alien by the Kitchen Window
The Hollanders: The Made Their Pella

He Begins His Story
 Father And Son
A Job and College
"What a Country! What a Country!"

A Young Man from Mexico
 A Young Woman in the United States

"All of Us Came from Somewhere"

Plymouth Rock and Ellis Island
 The Broadside
 Special Questionnaire on the Negro
In Reply to the Broadside
 Common Council for American Unity
Notes and Acknowledgments



 In this large volume Louis Adamic, under more or less fictionalized form, tells the stories, sketches the characters, reveals the personal philosophies and individual problems of a number of Americans whose origins were in foreign lands. Included are the stories of a Jewish doctor, a Slovenian peasant, of a California-born American with Japanese features, and others.

 From Many Land is a book which all Americans should read. The immigrants' problem is so clearly stated and their contribution to our culture so evident that we are challenged to approach the problem without prejudice and with intelligence and deep understanding. -H. P. Bolman

 This book of Louis Adamic's has its place, in all soberness, among great books in our day. For he has done his work worthily. To say that these true records are as interesting as a novel-as half a dozen novels-is to state the obvious. These word-pictures are portraits, not mere photographs. This temper is not only earnest and magnanimous, but clear and poised. Eventful, direct, warmly human, are these stories of Meleski, Steinberger. Evanich and all the rest. In a broken, terrified world, amid the existence is defiance, they hold our challenge of destiny. -Katherine Woods

 With emotional fervor and penetrating knowledge, with sweep and fire, tenderness and understanding. Louis Adamic here describes the lives of a number of immigrants and their descendents, of varying racial and geographical backgrounds. In a sociological document that becomes poetry, drama, and unforgettable literature. -R. H. Reyher

 Something between really craftsman like biographies and the conventional case studies, they fulfill their aim, which is to make us conscious of the enormous richness of these 'foreign' strains. They stimulate one, in Adamic's excellent phrase, to 'make America safe for differences.' The book is part of a series, indeed part of a social program (a project of the Common Council for American Unity), and is of extreme importance to Americans who now realize that this century will mark either our end as a nation or our emergence as a true and great culture-carrier. -Clifton Fadiman


Book Review Digest 1940

*In 1941 Adamic also received an honorary Litt.D. from Temple University.




Dear Shozo Tahara,

   It is impossible for me to tell you how very, very happy I was to receive your postcard recently. Your news was absolutely wonderful. I am happy that the "Young Man" chapter is to be published and that my article will also appear. I am even more delighted to know that your translation of The Native's Return is to be published. Yes, I will write an introduction or preface for the book.
But before I say any more I must tell you that I read again your letter from December 21,1988, and looked again at the very beautiful book of paintings you sent me in honor of my son. When that book came, I meant to write to you at once, but things were not good here and I could not write much more than my regular work; things were indeed very bad, I really hate to tell you in a letter again that there has been another death--but facts are facts. On June 2 this year my wife died. I am sad, but I have been working--hard--and I will do what I promised although until lately I could not do things well. I know you will want to respond to this news, but know that I understand my wife 's death as something that could not be otherwise and that I understand my wife's death as something that could not be otherwise and that I can go on with my life as I now have, taking each day as it comes and doing what I can in each day.

   My schedule just now is as follows: today I finished a contract and must by the end of September finish an introduction to a new printing of Adamic's Grandsons. October 17-21 I am to be in Zagreb to lecture, and November 1-5 I am to lecture in Toronto. I have much writing to do for these two trips, but if I finish the Grandsons introduction in time I shall begin at once to write the introduction for you. I know the story well and will make it interesting about how the book came to be written and say something about the book itself and what it can mean to readers today. Do you have an idea of how long your publisher will allow the introduction to be? Please ask, and say I am doing it, and I shall write it so that you can translate it easily--I hope. Write me when you have the answers to the length problem, so I shall know that and know too you have received this letter.

   Until I hear from you, best wishes and thanks for all you have done for me.

Henry Christian



The Nisei 's Problem Is

Difficult but Natural

By Louis Adamic

Mr.Omura, the editor of this magazine, asks me to write for him a brief article or editorial. I can do no better than quote the hero of my story "A young American With a Japanese Face" in my last books. -L Adamic


 " I spent my Easter vacation in 1938 trying to write an essay on the Oriental Americans. I held that the first thing for us to do was to realize that our situation, while difficult, was perfectly natural; in fact inevitable.

 I saw it this way: we are of the most recent immigration, and so still in the acute stage of adjustment to the country, as the country is, in turn, in that stage in relation to us. We have our problem, to be sure; but what can we expect?

 We are marginal people, but more important than that fact is the need for us to see that we are that naturally.

 To cease being marginal, we must proceed from this realization, the only point from which we proceed. We must look both within and outside ourselves, especially for the good and weak things within us. We must start working against our disadvantages . . . . which, to repeat, are perfectly normal: but their being normal does not mean we need to put up with them.

 In America it means the exact opposite. It means we must try to overcome them. If we try, we will do something.

 We must prove ourselves. All the people, group and individuals, who came here had to prove themselves. We must stand up and face the situation, and not withdraw from it and lie down, or sneak around it with various dodges. "

( Current Life Jan1941)




Common Ground
1940 -49

*Adamic publishes the quarterly journal devoted to creation of unity and mutual understanding among peoples of diverse background in America.


18. ADAMIC, Louis (editor). Common Ground. New York: Common Council for American Unity, 1940. Volume I, Number 1 (Autumn 1940). 8vo. Stiff tan wrappers. 104pp. Very good. First issue of this periodical, handsomely inscribed on the front wrapper by writer Louis Adamic (1899-1951), who not only edited the premiere issue but contributed "This Crisis Is an Opportunity" to this issue: "For Mr. & Mrs. Charles A. Sink's library, this first / issue of Common Ground, with the compliments / of the Editor, / Louis Adamic / 1950." Other contributors include Van Wyck Brooks, John Ciardi, Arthur M. Schlesinger and Robert M. Hutchins. The goal of this periodical, as Adamic puts forth in an "Editorial Aside," is "to explore gradually, from various angles, the racial-cultural situation and its problems which -- perhaps especially acute at this time -- have developed in the U.S...."

Price: $60.00 



Louis Adamic and the Contemporary Search for Roots
by Rudolph Vecoli (University of Minesota) Ethnic Studies 2 (1978)



America And The Refuges

A Pamphlet




The Crisis Is An Opportunity

A Pamphlet




 Bulletin of the United Committee of South-Slavic Americans 1943


*Adamic was elected president of the United Committee of South-Slavic Americans; founds and edits.






The People of American Series
1947 -50

*Adamic general editor.
(Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1947-1950)





Two-Way Passage


(New York & London :Harper,1941 328 pages )





This book is the author's overview of the world situation, published before America 's entry into the Second World War.

Both Franklin Roosevelt and Mrs.Roosevelt (Eleanor was Adamic's fun and friend) had been impressed by the thesis of Two-Way Passage: "I propose that we take to Europe-in person-the American Revolution, the American Experience"



What's Your Name?

(New York & London :Harper,1942 p )







 An informal treatise on the subject of European-American surnames: why do some immigrants change or Anglicize their names, why do others not do so, and what effect does the change or the lack of it have upon their lives and fortunes.-Book Review Digest

 The American simply cannot understand why a man called Adamciewicsz wants to keep his name in the navy, or why the numerous Krzyzanowskis want to hold on to that impossible designation in the army Mr. Adamic does not try to give the solution. That is not possible for anyone, so much depends upon individual feelings and temperament, upon customs, traditions, and loyalties He gives all sides of the cases and not merely his own interpretations. One thing that makes this book so readable, and at times exciting and pathetic, is that he tells story after story in the words of those who have written or related their experiences to him.- O. G. Villard



My Native Land

(New York & London : Harper,1943 p507)
(New York : Book Find Club1943)

I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land. -- SENECA THE STOIC (First Century)


MY NATIVE LAND, by Adamic, Louis. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1943. Stated First Edition. Hard cover with dust jacket, 507 pages. Illustrated with many illustrations and b/w photos. Author's account of life in Yugoslavia, contents include; The Nightmare - 1941-43, Slovenia Under the Italians/ Germans, The Axis Attacks Throught the Rift. The story of Yugoslavia under Axis domination & the Yugoslav resistance. Based upon author's exclusive material, story of Yugoslavia. "Yugoslavia - what happens here will determine the pattern of life for the rest of the world". SIGNED by author on ffep with date 1947. The dust jacket, which folds out to reveal many illustrations, is shelf worn but still intact, o/w book's in good used condition (old newspaper articles laid into back). http://cgi.ebay.com/



Love in Slovenia
A Boy and His Village
One Man's Sacrifice
Kraguyevats, Serbia: October 21, 1941
 A Dying Guerilla's Testament

Occupation and "The Technique of Depopulation"
 Early Resistance and the Beginnings of Civil War
 The Partisans and Mikhailovich
Anti-Guerrilla Guerrillas
The Men in Striped Trousers and Soldier
 Beginnings of World War V?
The Pan-Serbian Chetniks Join Up with Italian Fascist
Britain Reshapes Her Policy

Slovenia Under the Italians
 Slovenia Under the Germans
 In the Heart of the Balkans

"Death To Fascism! Liberty To The People!"
The Communists
 Two New Leaders in Slovenia
 "Look Deeper, My Friend!"
Death in Front of the Church
 Hot Blood and Red
The Future Tries to Get Hold of Itself
 The Axis Attacks Through the Rift
 The Mikhailovich Legend Goes On

The "Old Slavs" and Their Descendants
A Thousand Years, All Pretty Bad
 The Cult of Kossovo
 Serbia is Liberated, But-
The "Yugoslav Idea" Begins in Croatia
Serbia's High Moment-Then Sarajevo: 1903-'14
 The South-Slav During World WarT
Yugoslavia Is Created--Too Hastily
A peasant Leader Emerges: Stepan Radich
 From Political Chicanery to Crime: 1926-'29
 Dictatorship and Death: 1929-'34
 Through Decline Toward Dictatorship: 1934-'41
 Kossovo Again: 1941
 Yet Yugoslavia Was a Success

The Yugoslavia Nightmare Invades America
The Chance
The "Government" in London
The Raft: Communist and Non-Communist Together
Liberation and After: Probabilities and Possibilities
Russia, Britain, America and the Vatican: 1943
A Letter

 TWho Killed Alexander
 UThe Problem of Trieste
 VStalin in the Yugoslav Problem 



A Letter

In August 20,'42 A Young Man In Slovenia Wrote A Letter to his brother in the United States. The various notations on the back of the sheet indicate that it somehow got out of Yugoslavia to Egypt, thence to London, thence to America, where it was delivered on June 19,'43.It reads:

For an endless time we have not had any word of you or your wife. Now and then on the radio we hear words spoken in America which stir hope but give no assurance.

Mother and all the brothers and sisters are still living today. Of our relatives many are already lost.

Suffering is extreme. The storm with metal hail rages on. Losses are enormous for our small nation. We ask for urgent help, or it will be too late.

All of us send you, your wife and all your friends in America our greetings.   


 'My Native Land' is a vital book, full of the most challenging observations. In a way it goes far beyond the confines of a small Balkan country and deals with issues which all the word will have to face. Mr. Adamic is tremendously outspoken in his criticism of governments and statesmen. It is refreshing to read him-even though, naturally, not all can, agree with all his views and conclusions. -Leigh White

 'My Native Land' is a valuable book even if half of the author's opinions should prove partly in error. For it is eloquently written and best of all it will grip man readers because it is pointed up vividly-often tragically-by personal portraits of participants in the struggle. -Marshall Bragdon

*In October of 1944 the Yugoslav Council of Liberation awarded Adamic the Order of Unity.



A Nation Of Nations

(New York & London :Harper,1945 399pgs)

A New, thrilling view of the real America
and all the citizens of our nation.


Preface: Letters to and from an Old-Line American of Anglo-Saxon Stock

Here[in these States] at last is something in the doings of man that corresponds with the broadcast doings of day and night. Here is not merely a nation but a teeming nation of nations.

--Walt Whitman
Preface to 1855 Edition
Of Leaves of Grass

T. Americans from Italy
. Americans from Spain and Mexico
. Americans from France
. Americans from Holland
. Americans from Sweden
. Americans from Russia
. Americans from Germany
. Negro Americans
. Americans from Yugoslavia
. Americans from Norway
. Americans from Greece
. Americans from Poland
. Americans from Ireland

NY: Harper, 1945. 399p. Stated 1st. Hardback. Photos. http://www.eskimo.com/~recall/cats/radical.htm

Adamic presents a sweeping view of ethnic America, focusing on the coming of peoples to this continent, voluntary or in chains, at the very center of our historical process.

NY: Harper, 1945. 399p. Stated 1st. Hardback. Photos. Adamic presents a sweeping view of ethnic America, focusing on the coming of peoples to this continent, voluntary or in chains, at the very center of our historical process. 




 It has long been customary for many Americans, including writers of history, to regard the United States as an "Anglo-Saxon" country with a White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant civilization struggling to preserve itself against infiltration and adulteration by other civilizations brought here by "hordes of foreigners" and Negroes.

 To Mr.Adamic this is a dangerous fallacy, certain to bring us to grief in both domestic and foreign affairs, should any substantial proportion of Americans persist in dangerously mistaken beliefs regarding many of their fellow citizens.

 Challenging the idea that the United States is exclusively an "Anglo-Saxon" country, Mr.Adamic has produced an exciting new kind of history based on an abundance of long-neglected, though tremendously important facts.

 The cultural pattern of the United States is not essentially Anglo-Saxon, although her language is English. Nor is the pattern Anglo-Saxon with a motley addition of "foreign" darns and patches. The pattern of America, says Mr.Adamic, is all of a piece, is American. It is the blend of cultures from many lands, woven of threads from all corners of the earth. Diversity itself is the American pattern, the very stuff and color of the fabric, and one of the most important sources of our strength.

 In other words, our is a new civilization, of course owing much to the Anglo-Saxon strain, but owing much as well to the other elements in our heritage and growth, to the unique qualities and forces which stem from the sweep of the continent between two oceans, the mixture and interplay of our peoples, the plenitude of our resources, and the skills which all of us--Britons, Irishmen, Frenchmen, Scandinavians, Slavs, Latins, Negroes--Protestants, Catholics, Jews, agnostics--have brought here or developed here in the past three hundred years.

 A NATION OF NATION--based on seven years' research, readable as a fine novel -- is Louis Adamic's twelfth and perhaps most important book. Coming at a crucial time in history, it is a vital contribution to the individual and collective reorientation required of the American people by a rapidly changing world. It is a book that Americans of all national, racial and religious backgrounds will be reading and referring to for decades to come.  


Dinner at the White-House

(New York & London : Harper Brothers, 1946 pages) 

Invitation and Dinner with Franklin D elano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill -a record of conversations and thoughts etc.



January 2,1946

Mr. Louis Adamic
Milford, N.J.

Dear Louis,
It has been year or two since I wrote you about that Roosevelt story, and I am wondering if you have ever written it up as you promised to. I have sent off the manuscript of vol.Z to Viking. That brings my story down to March 1942. I am planning the next volume, and your story should go into that. It seems to me that Roosevelt's death ought to add to its interest. I f you wrote this story as you told it, I should think one of the big magazines would certainly take it, and perhaps the "Reader's Digest" would use it also. Such publication would, of course, not make any difference so far as my use of it is concerned. If you have not the time or inclination to write this story, would you like to sketch it out for me in the form of brief notes which I could elaborate on? I would expect to pay you something for your time, but of course I am not the Reader's Digest.
Let me know what id in your mind. As I told you when I first broached the matter to you. I would like to handle the story I this way: To have Lanny meet Louis Adamic in person, heart his story of what is going on in Yugoslavia, and what ought to be done about it, and take him to the White House to tell it Mrs. Roosevelt. This way, the readers of the novel wold witness the actual events as they happen.


*Adamic was sued by Winston Churchill for libel on the basis of a footnote in this book in 1947.


*After that Adamic could not publish at all in USA.


"I have in me a sort of peasant resistance
to influences of all sorts." -L Adamic



"Death Waits For My Uncle Yanez"-L Adamic 1934

"There undoubtedly is a great difference," said Stella,
"between your uncle's death and my father's.
Here Death is a rather mild through inexorable fellow
who comes and stands by the door with his scythe, waiting
till his victim is through saying good-by to everybody,
including his nephew who happens to return from America;
then does his work because, somehow, it must be down.
In America, in the cities at least, Death is a gangster
who puts one on the spot, then-bang! In America,
he doesn't carry a scythe, but a sawed-off shotgun."


"I was too closely tired up with contemporary America.
I carried my death in me all the time."
- - - - - - - - -

"Peter, why did they do it?"


Mysterious Death

On the morning of Sept.4,1951, Adamic's body was found on the second floor bedroom-study of the century-old farmhouse he had purchased in 1937 in Hunterdon County, in Western New Jersey near the village of Riegelsville. A bullet from the .22 rifle that lay across his knees had penetrated his brain. The house and the garage across the road had been set afire with rags soaked in fuel oil. But there were no fingerprints found on the rifle and Adamic was not wearing gloves.  Mysterious Death 



 His attempt "to get at the truth about things" and to make "an effort to understand them" came, finally, to be no more or less complete or satisfactory than mankind itself. On September 4,1951,his study-garage already consumed by fire, Adamic was found lying on a bed in his burning farmhouse, a rifle angled across his thigh and a fatal bullet wound in his head. The shock, confusion, and seeming mystery of his death in great measure bscured, and continues to obscure, the fact that a life was ended for which more of the nation and world might have mourned.

"Louis Adamic  A Checklist" by Henry A Christian 


Iz dveb domovin: Izjav-Reportaze--Slovstvo 

From Two Homelands

Translated by Ivan Crnagoj, Vito Krajger, Olga Skerl-Grahor,and Branko Rudolf. Maribor:Zalozba "Obzorja," 1951. Contains "The Enigma" and selections from Laughing in the Jungle, My America, From Many Lands, and A Nation of Nations. 




The Eagle and the Roots

New York : Doubleday,1952. Edited by Stella Adamic and Timothy Seldes.

Garden City Park, NY: Doubleday & Co, 1952. 531pgs.




The“Last Book”of Louis Adamic

Most of the few people who are familiar with his plans in 1948, believe it would have been better for Adamic, and certainly safer, if he had written “The Education of Michael Novak” instead of The Eagle and the Roots, which is generally believed to have been the cause of his death. “The Education” would certainly be an interesting novel, containing many dramatic but credible life stories. As he had proved in some of his other works, Adamic was a master of vivid and coherent life stories. The book he planned in 1948 would also contain a good deal of his own thinking and emotions, interwoven within his fictional characters’ idea, feelings and actions. Had Adamic written this book as he conceived it, it would probably retain a lasting value and reach a wider reading public than The Eagle and the Roots did.

– Janja Zitnik

* * *

Louis Adamic was one of the most complicated and
provocative figures of the American literary world
during the first half of the Twentieth century.

Henry A. Christian 




Dan Shiffman is an Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia, where he teaches writing, humanities, and American studies courses.


Dan Shiffman - Rooting Multiculturalism: The Work of Louis Adamic  Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press | 2003-08 | ISBN: 0838640028 | PDF | 191 pages | 1.04 MB


Rooting Multiculturalism: The Work of Louis Adamic offers the American immigrant writer, editor, and social critic's insights about democracy and diversity to the ongoing "culture wars." This study begins with a chronological overview of Adamic's career from his boyhood in Slovenia, to the growth of his reputation as an advocate for ethnic diversity in the 1930s and 1940s, to the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death in 1951. Rooting Multiculturalism then considers Adamic's relationship to the development of American cultural pluralism between the Wars, his populist rhetoric of progressive social reform, and his analysis of the plight of "second-generation" immigrants. By evaluating Adamic's life and work, Rooting Multiculturalism reveals that multiculturalism has a longer and deeper history than is often acknowledged. Moreover, this study underscores Adamic's dynamic model of multicultural identity and American citizenship in which individuals draw from a variety of cultural and philosophical perspectives without being bound by any of them. http://www.ebookee.com/Dan-Shiffman-Rooting-Multiculturalism-The-Work-of-Louis-Adamic_351005.html 


* * * 


Hi, Mr.Dan Shiffman, Thank You for your mail! –Shozo (Japan)

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