Spring 1965 • Vol. XXVII No. 2 Nonfiction |

The Sense of Guilt

I find a curious mood in myself when thinking about the second half of the 1930s. It is different from my feelings about the earlier days when writers went on missions to Harlan County, Kentucky, or joined the League of Professional Groups for Foster and Ford. That first half of the decade seems very distant now, and I can talk about my part in it as if I were someone else—an earnest character who marched in May Day parades and sang "The International," sometimes with tears in his eyes as he dreamed of contributing his share to the future; who did crazy things (was that really I?) that seem no crazier in retrospect than what had been done, for example, by Charlie Mitchell of the National City Bank, and without Mitchell's excuse or sin of doing them for his own profit. In the end he, I—not the investment bankers—did no great harm and nobody suffered much for his political errors. It seems different in the second half of the decade. By that time I had acquired, at a price, a

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