Able to Lead

Able to Lead

Disablement, Radicalism, and the Political Life of E.T. Kingsley

by Ravi Malhotra and Benjamin Isitt

Published by: UBC Press

320 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 27 b&w photos, 1 map

  • ISBN: 9780774865777
  • Published: December 2021


Eugene T. Kingsley led an extraordinary life. Born in mid-nineteenth-century New York,y 1890 he was a railway brakeman in Montana. An accident left him a double amputee and politically radicalized, and his socialist activism that followed took him north of the border where he eventually was considered by the government to be "one of the most dangerous men in Canada".

Able to Lead traces Kingsley’s political journey from soapbox speaker in San Francisco to prominence in the Socialist Party of Canada. Ravi Malhotra and Benjamin Isitt illuminate a figure who shaped a generation of Canadian leftists during a time when it was uncommon for disabled men to lead. They examine Kingsley’s endeavours for justice against the Northern Pacific Railway, and how Kingsley’s life intersected with immigration law and free-speech rights.

Able to Lead brings a turbulent period in North American history to life, highlighting Kingsley’s profound legacy for the twenty-first-century political left.