New York: Horace Liveright, 1931. First Edition. 8vo, 313pp; brown cloth. Endsheets faintly offset from dust jacket flaps; tips a bit bumped; fine in a rubbed dust jacket with an L-shaped closed tear to the spine and some edge wear. / Dust jacket design by Sugar. Item #205724
Possibly the only novel by this elusive, English-born writer, based on his experience as a coal miner in western Britain before the World War. After the war, Carlisle emigrated to the U.S. His dust jacket bio reads in part: "Here are some of the things he has done: In England: grocer's boy, moulder's apprentice, coal-mine worker, machinist, waiter, munitions inspector, sailor in the Royal Navy, window-cleaner, boiler attendant. In America: janitor's assistant, stock-room clerk in a publishing house, sailor, economic investigator, accountant, radio sales organizer, manager of a music store, two-dollar-a-night trucker on fruit piers, owner of a bookstore, book reviewer, motion-picture reader, machinist, dishwasher, ghost-writer (scenarios and several novels) . . . . And he is only 33 years old!" Carlisle was an ardent communist, colleague, and, evidently, lover to fellow writer Tillie Olsen, with whom he traveled to the American Writer's Congress in 1935. He was active in the John Reed Club and was ultimately brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee in their pursuit of supposed communists in the film industry. As a member of the LA Committee for Protection of Foreign Born, a front organization, he faced deportation proceedings as a "Communist Alien" under the McCarran act, one of the so-called "Terminal Island Four." A shadowy figure in the film business who left little trace, "Harry Carlisle" appeared as one of the witnesses in Warren Beatty's 1980 film "Reds," about Reed. This copy of his elusive novel shows some additional cinematic pedigree. The author's inscription on the front endpaper marks the intersection of two Hollywood career paths going in distinctly different directions: "To William Wyler, with sincere congratulations for "Hell's Heroes" -- and hoping for mutual respect - Harry Carlisle, April 7, 1931." Hell's Heroes, a western, was Wyler's first sound feature. He would shortly become one of the most honored and critically acclaimed directors in all of American cinema, winner of three Academy Awards for best director and best picture, while directing fourteen actors to Oscar-winning performances.