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Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left Hardcover – May 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; First edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554961
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554962
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,294,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A thoroughly researched investigation of the communist controversy in Hollywood that has divided America for more than half a century." -- John Patrick Diggins, Distinguished Professor of History, City University of New York

"Red Star Over Hollywood is a cool, objective, well-researched and highly readable study of the effects the HUAC." -- Richard Schickel

"Ronald and Allis Radosh give us a sobering, straightforward, scrupulously researched account of the Communist Party's actual goal." -- Tom Wolfe, author of I am Charlotte Simmons

About the Author

Ronald Radosh lives in Brookeville, Maryland, with his wife and co-author, Allis Radosh.

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Customer Reviews

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Perhaps the authors will address this issue in a subsequent book.
Beth Fox
For a select few the McCarthy era was a time of great fear, and no one feared this witch-hunt against communism more than Hollywood.
Jeffrey Leach
This book by the Radoshes was perfect for someone like me who was willing to read and learn something about it.
Matthew Connolly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 131 people found the following review helpful By R. E. Cohen on May 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
REDS WERE NOT PART OF THE RED, WHITE & BLUE - a review by Bob Cohen of "Red Star Over Hollywood" by Ronald & Allis Radosh

Ronald & Allis Radosh's new book: "Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony's Long Romance with the Left" is a brilliant, myth-busting and yet compassionate exploration of the era and the errors of the blacklist in Hollywood.

For ideologues there is only black and white. They allow no paradoxes, complications,and irony that are the ingredients in real life. For the Radoshes these same ingredients make their book read like a political thriller even though we know the outcome.

As Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten, wrote many years later the informers, the informed, and the uninformed were all victims. His disgust with the Communists as time went on is one of the many important revelations compiled in this book. Most moving is the painful questioning by two sons of blacklisted writers (Lawson & Lardner - also part of the Hollywood Ten) of their fathers - what led them, in Jeff Lawson's words, "to believe so strongly in such false concepts."

One of the Radoshes conclusions will surely shock both the extreme left and the extreme right: "But ultimately HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) and the [Communist] Party served each other's purposes." The Party served up real "witches" to rationalize HUAC's witch-hunt proceeding, and HUAC made martyrs of the Reds who were up until then in great trouble with Hollywood liberals because of their fanatic support for Stalin and the Soviet Union, i.e. their turning on the U.S. when Stalin signed a peace pact with Hitler in 1939.

"Red Star Over Hollywood" is necessary reading for folks from all shades of political opinion.
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136 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Beth Fox on June 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The McCarthy era is generally portrayed as one of the darkest times in American history, and those who faced blacklisting in Hollywood have been lauded as heroes. Through ground-breaking new research and the reliance on original source materials, the Radoshes have compiled a thorough re-examination of the enchantment by some in the film industry with the Communist Party, and their betrayal by that very same party.

The Radoshes describe the infatuation of "the Hollywood Party" from its roots in the 1930s, when several visited the Soviet Union. They demonstrate that, far from being innocent, the "Hollywood Ten" were committed Communists, who used and abused free-speech supporters (like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall) for their own ends. The Communist Party, in turn, cynically used the "Ten" for its own ends -- trotting them out to speak at unrelated left-wing events for years, which prevented the Ten from individually rehabilitating their images and obtaining work. The authors also describe the way the CP line was inserted in several films, most notoriously, "Mission to Moscow." This film, designed to turn the views of a skeptical American public toward the USSR during World War II, whitewashes Stalin's purge trials of the 1930s, where many truly innocent were tortured into confessing and executed. Perhaps most interesting is the difficult path faced by those who broke with the Party and either "named names" or walked a fine line to avoid naming names. For many, being seen as an informer was worse than preventing and exposing genuine Communist infiltration.

If I have any criticisms of the book, it is that the Radoshes did not take their exploration of the film colony's long romance with the left through the Vietnam War years and today.
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on September 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Remember the Hollywood blacklist? The Hollywood Ten? I'll bet you know a lot about these events even if you weren't alive in the 1950s. That's because Tinseltown has a vested interest in keeping the memory of this era alive. It was the era of the Red Scare, of Senator Joseph McCarthy waving his infamous list of communist subversives during a speech in West Virginia. It was the time of congressional investigations, a time when invoking the Fifth Amendment might keep you safe from a contempt charge but would make you look guilty as sin in the public eye. For a select few the McCarthy era was a time of great fear, and no one feared this witch-hunt against communism more than Hollywood. Why? Because, despite the mountains of claims to the contrary that have emerged over the years, the movie industry oozed communists. There were so many Reds in Hollywood that they should have renamed the town Little Moscow. Yet even today, you won't hear about this truth in the media. You will, however, get the skinny on what really went on if you pick up a copy of Ronald Radosh's "Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony's Long Romance with the Left."

Talk about exploding myths! Radosh's book, which he co-wrote with his wife Allis, cuts through the layers of denial and presents us with an ugly picture of the real Hollywood of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Vladimir Lenin, the little pipsqueak who brought the nightmare of Marxism to the Soviet Union back in the early part of the twentieth century, had a soft spot for film and theater. He believed that the best way to spread communism around the globe was through movies and plays. This is exactly what the Kremlin crowd set out to accomplish in the following decades.
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