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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book for anyone interested in the "isms"
I read this book during the Vietnam War peace demonstrations of the 1960s. After leading a moratorium in 1968, a schoolmate invited me to his brother's get together. He said I would love their ideas. They turned out to be communists planning a violent revolution.

I told a much older friend about my experience. I explained my love for America and the principles...
Published 13 months ago by Gary S. Hart

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Are you guys kidding? You miss the point!
Are you folks kidding? This book is a classic but not because it is an accurate portrayal. It's a classic because of how it represents the hysteria of the moment. It is used to show how paranoid we had become of a amazingly impotent, minor cause with a few people whose naïveté and principles led them to join a. Is guided and largely debased party.
Published 4 months ago by outraged parent


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book for anyone interested in the "isms", November 12, 2013
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This review is from: I Led Three Lives: Citizen, 'Communist', Counterspy (Hardcover)
I read this book during the Vietnam War peace demonstrations of the 1960s. After leading a moratorium in 1968, a schoolmate invited me to his brother's get together. He said I would love their ideas. They turned out to be communists planning a violent revolution.

I told a much older friend about my experience. I explained my love for America and the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. That I had no interest in overthrowing our government, just ending the war, bringing about true equal rights and protecting the freedom of speech. He suggested I read this book and I did.

Watching the changes to our country inspired me to read this book again. Every student should read Herbert Philbrick's account of the Communist Party in the USA. If you decide to purchase this book, by an early edition prior to 1970. The newer editions are edited to its detriment.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, August 16, 2005
This review is from: I Led Three Lives: Citizen, 'Communist', Counterspy (Hardcover)
The other review details the content of the book very well - the service performed by a decent young American for his country. The VENONA transcripts have shown that
Soviet penetration of government and media in the United States was, in that era, a real danger (at least 300 agents in the Federal government - including a Congressman and later justice of the New York state supreme court - and this known to be just a fraction of the full number).

Don't buy the 1972 revision. It omits, unfortunately, the role played by Mrs. Philbrick, whom her husband describes as a most reluctant Communist!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Account, August 21, 2013
By 
Yankee Flyer (Melrose, MA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Led Three Lives: Citizen, 'Communist', Counterspy (Hardcover)
This true story of a advertising / public relations man, who as a community volunteer in 1940 finds himself involved in an civic action organization that is managed at the top by a Communist Front group. As he continues to work towards the positive goals of the Massachusetts Youth Council this organization's leadership and related groups start advocating for the rejection of all military aid to Great Britain and the Allied cause. The disconnect between the agenda of Council's leadership and the membership gave author Philbrick pause. This pattern of establishing a new civic group with a stated positive mission to attract members, and then changed by the leadership cadre to address a Communist policy goal was standard operating procedure. Philbrick knew from the inside that the fronts organized and the plans of the Communist Party USA for America were a clear and present danger. He went to the FBI and kept them up to date with the leadership, the operations and plans of the Party from 1940 on to the indictment and trial of Communist Party USA leadership "The Eleven" on April 6,1949. Philbrick was one of seven witnesses to testify for the prosecution."The Eleven" were found guilty of organizing teaching and advocating the overthrow and destruction of the Government of the United States by force and violence et al.
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life as a Triple Agent, May 4, 2009
This review is from: I Led Three Lives: Citizen, 'Communist', Counterspy (Hardcover)
Herbert Philbrick dropped his cover when he testified for the government at the trial of The Eleven Communist Party leaders in 1949. Chapter 1 tells his story on how he got involved in 1940. People were cold and hungry amidst a land of fuel and food (p.6)! Herb earned as he learned as a door-to-door salesman, manual laborer, and contractor (p.7). He went into advertising (p.8). He met his wife through the church dramatic club. As a salesman for direct-mail advertising he made a cold call on the "Massachusetts Youth Council". They were working for peace and to keep the nation out of war. Herb was interested; youth organizations could build confidence, character, and stability (p.11). The national defense program reduced unemployment (Chapter 2). The Youth Councils could work together to oppose war (p.14). They had to organize with personal support (p.17). Three volunteers were especially helpful (p.19). Herb was elected chairman but soon found a problem (p.22). Would they manipulate Herb (p.25)?

Herb visited the FBI for advice (p.31). He was advised to stay in place and keep watch (p.36). Herb noted the policies of these groups (p.39). Harold Leary gave him advice (p.40). There was a change in policy after June 22, 1941 (p.41). This flip-flop revealed their objectives (p.43). Those people had no Christian compassion, no regard for the individual, no respect for integrity (p.45). [Does that remind you of some corporations?] Those whose thinking was dictated by Moscow went from isolationist to interventionist (Chapter 4). Pacifist and isolationist sentiment continued until Pearl Harbor. [Who controlled their thinking?] The collapse of the Cambridge Youth Council shows what a dedicated caucus can achieve (p.48). Herb was a shrewd psychologist (pp.51-52). [Devil's advocate?] Herb joined the "Boston Youth for Victory Council" (pp.55-57). The widespread membership prevented Communist control. Communist infiltration among Negroes was unsuccessful. [Religious influence?] Herb was asked to act as a counterspy to get information (p.64). The risks and hardships were explained, and Herb agreed.

The book tells about his undercover life. The Philbricks moved to Wakefield and held a secret party meeting (Chapter 6 explains the details). Herb contrasts the warmth and kindness of his church to the hatred and bitterness of the communists (p.92). When a policy changed the faithful adopted it as their own idea (p.95). [This happens with other people from advertising and news in the media.] The "American Youth for Democracy" group was designed to attract members who would be counted for a given policy. [Another method is to create a poll that states a policy that people should follow.] The name of the group changed by the names of the people involved did not (Chapter 7). Are "pro-fascist elements" opposed to any grassroots organizations (p.106)? Do those many activities sound like "busy work" (p.109)?

Marxism was taught like a religious creed that offers salvation after years of struggle (p.114). Herb continued to supply material to the FBI (p.126). Are the Mother Goose nursery rhymes "especially evil" (p.165)? Is the middle class vanishing (p.176). Chapter 12 tells how the Communists worked for an anti-communist Congressman to spread their beliefs and gain members; he lost (p.206), a Republican won (p.207). If Communists want people to be more dependent on the government for everything (p.246) who is running our country? Blanket condemnations by the HUAC frequently harms innocent persons (p.249). J. Edgar Hoover opposed outlawing the Communist party to keep them above ground (p.258). Herb was summoned to testify about secret activities and advance the government's case (Chapter 16). Herb ends with a description of Communists (pp.298-301). The best way to fight Communism is to eliminate the evils of society (p.301). Herb Philbrick's character and integrity is shown in this book (Appendix II).
[The TV show was a favorite of a teenager in New York city named Lee Harvey Oswald. Did it inspire him?]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Are you guys kidding? You miss the point!, August 2, 2014
This review is from: I Led Three Lives: Citizen, 'Communist', Counterspy (Hardcover)
Are you folks kidding? This book is a classic but not because it is an accurate portrayal. It's a classic because of how it represents the hysteria of the moment. It is used to show how paranoid we had become of a amazingly impotent, minor cause with a few people whose naïveté and principles led them to join a. Is guided and largely debased party.
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I Led Three Lives: Citizen, 'Communist', Counterspy
I Led Three Lives: Citizen, 'Communist', Counterspy by Herbert A. Philbrick (Hardcover - January 1, 1952)
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