From Publishers Weekly
Left-wing historians' sympathy for American communism is an example of ideological bias and self-deception comparable to Holocaust denial, according to this uncompromising manifesto. Haynes and Klehr, historians and authors of The Secret World of American Communism, rehash major Cold War controversies-including Moscow's financial subsidies to the American Communist Party, the espionage cases against the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss, and American communists' support for the Hitler-Stalin pact-in light of material from recently opened Soviet archives. But their focus is on the response of what they see as a left-wing "revisionist" academic establishment to new revelations about Stalin's crimes and American communists' subservience to Moscow. Taking on leading history journals and prominent scholars like Ellen Schrecker, Eric Foner and Victor Navasky, the authors accuse revisionists of ignoring, downplaying and distorting the mounting evidence of communist espionage and subversion in the United States. Instead of facing facts, they argue, revisionists have propagated a mythology of American communism as a benign, idealistic, home-grown progressive movement destroyed by McCarthyite persecution, a caricature that "resembles more the chaotic New Left of the late 1960s than the rigid Leninist party it was." The authors champion a liberal, anticommunist "traditionalist" historiography, asserting that America's post-war campaign against communist subversion (McCarthy's excesses aside) was "a rational and understandable response to a real danger to American democracy." While their confrontational tone and penchant for academic score-settling will inflame rather than settle these rancorous debates, their incisive analysis and meticulous attention to evidence make this a formidable rejoinder to left-wing orthodoxies.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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About the Author
John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr