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manny fried



Emanuel Fried, Most Dangerous Man

Talking Leaves…Books is extremely pleased to announce that Buffalo’s legendary playwright, educator, mentor, labor organizer and most dangerous man Manny Fried will be on hand at our Main Street location on Saturday afternoon, September 11, 2010, at 4 pm to sign copies of Most Dangerous Man: A Personal Memoir. The public is invited to this free event; copies of the book will be available for purchase. This is likely the only public appearance Mr. Fried will make for the book, recently singled out for high praise in a review/profile in the Buffalo News.

Emanuel (“Manny") Fried was born in 1913 and grew up in Buffalo, New York, where he worked in the grocery business, and as a bellhop, before deciding he wanted to be an actor. After formative experiences in New York City, he returned to Buffalo and for many years worked in factories. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, attaining the rank of Lieutenant. Following that, he became an organizer for various labor unions in Western New York State, representing 30,000 workers. During the Great Depression, Manny joined the Communist Party, and continued to be a principled radical activist throughout the Cold War, defying the House Un-American Activities Committee, refusing outright to answer any questions whatsoever.

The dramatic experiences of those years supplied the raw materials for his plays, including The Dodo Bird, Drop Hammer, and Elegy for Stanley Gorski, as well as for his novels, including Big Ben Hood, and The Un-American. The plays have been widely performed across the country, and most recently, Manny has produced a one-man play about his life, called Boilermakers and Martinis. This is now available on DVD.

Most Dangerous Man is a “personal memoir,” revealing details of Manny’s early years in a large, lively Jewish family; his period working as a bellhop when he first met prostitutes and other “non-respectable” people. Then it moves to his years in and around the world of theater, and its colorful personalities. Already much concerned for the stresses of conflict between social classes, he met, fell in love with, and married the daughter of a well-to-do Buffalo family, who own one of the swankiest hotels in town. The severe strain of trying to maintain a marriage and family during the height of the McCarthy years is powerfully related. The narrative thus becomes a story of survival, though not without a terrible personal cost.

Thus, in addition to being a chronicle of social life in mid-20th century show-business and industrial America, this book achieves a level of insight into how a person and his family could ride out political and personal repression. There are also numerous practical lessons of benefit to any citizen reader in our own time.


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