Joseph Starobin, born of a White Russian Jewish family in New York City, grew up among Socialists and became radicalized during the Great Depression. He was the foreign editor of the Daily Worker from 1945-1954, In 1951, on the Communist Party's suggestion, he went into to voluntary exile to escape McCarthyism. During this time, he travelled widely in Latin America, France, Indochina, and China. Two books emerged out of these experiences: Paris to Peking and Eyewitness in Indo-China. He was also in charge of the Communist Party USA's peace activities. He entered the PhD. Program in history at Columbia University, and received his degree in Political Science. He then taught at York University in Toronto. His dissertation was published as American Communism in Crisis: 1943-1957.