Dirtbag: Essays (Hardcover)
The victories and failures of millennial socialism, as told by the writer who lived it.
Amber A'Lee Frost came to New York City from her home state of Indiana as a working class activist (and member of then-unknown Cold War hold-out, Democratic Socialists of America), just before the first major movement for economic justice of the millennium, Occupy Wall Street. Of course, Occupy went bust, then Bernie Sanders went boom, and she threw herself into the campaign with everything she had. Frost has been one of the foremost evangelists of labor and socialist politics ever since, as a writer, activist, former staff and lifetime member of DSA, and cohost of the wildly popular Chapo Trap House podcast.
Dirtbag is the much-anticipated debut from one of the most engaging and insightful writers of her generation. This book is more than a political memoir; it is a chapter in the story of the only movement that has a chance to reshape our world into something better. It captures an electric time of thrilling triumphs, stupid decisions, friendships and rivalries new and old, struggle, joy, setbacks, and heartbreak, all with magnetic prose, remarkable candor, and unflappable humor.
Throughout it all, Frost burned the candle at both ends, relentlessly campaigning for socialism and the labor movement, from the American Midwest to the British rust belt, and rallying the troops with her brothers-in-arms as a self-described propagandist for the glorious cause of the workers movement (and somehow, always finding moments for plenty of reckless adventuring). The time was a brutal calamity of work and play, with all of the late nights, hard fights, and joyous camaraderie powered by the hope and the faith that maybe, somehow, this time, socialism could actually win.
“A witty, self-knowing, digressive memoir … an informed and original progressive voice.”
“Amber’s writing is as convincing and unpretentious as Barbara Ehrenreich’s and as sardonic and poignant as David Rakoff’s. I will desperately clutch my copy of Dirtbag as The Discourse clamors on.”
—John Early, Comedian
“Insightful, critical, but also loving, Frost writes in the best tradition of American satire and hard-boiled noirish realism. Dirtbag lays a literary and historical marker for posterity, rekindling, in its telling, the light that sparked briefly in the first two decades of our millennium, giving us Leftist dreamers the collective hope that a different world was ours for the making. It provides important lessons about defeat and loss, while also offering us a strong antidote to the toxic culture wars that are always waged in times of political reaction and self-deception.”
—Catherine Liu, author of Virtue Hoarders: The Case Against the Professional Managerial Class and American Idyll: Academic Anti-Elitism as Cultural Critique
“Amber has always had a gift where she’ll take an idea you’d previously given up all hope of understanding, and not just decipher it, but make you feel as though you’ve known it for years. But beyond powers of clarity in a time of deluge, she has never forgotten why she’s here: to fight, win or lose, and live to fight another day, so the working class can get what’s owed.”
— Felix Biederman, Co-Host of Chapo Trap House
"I truly believe that if this book had not been suppressed by both the FBI and the CIA, it would have prevented 9/11."
—@dril, King of Twitter, author of The Get Rich and Become God Method
“Amber Frost is a brilliant and provocative writer and thinker. She made Chapo Trap House a better podcast to listen to and America a better place to live.”
— Matt Christman, Co-Host of Chapo Trap House
“Chapo Trap House podcaster Frost debuts with an irreverent and acerbic take on the contemporary American socialist movement from the inside of the ‘dirtbag left’ … often funny, intelligent company.”
“[A] chaotic memoir in essay form…[Frost’s] voice is strong, honest, and distinct.”