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The Secret World of American Communism (Annals of Communism Series) Paperback – September 25, 1996


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The Secret World of American Communism (Annals of Communism Series) + The Soviet World of American Communism (Annals of Communism Series) + In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage
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Product Details

  • Series: Annals of Communism Series
  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 25, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300068557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300068559
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drawing on recently declassified documents from the former Soviet Union, this book argues that the American Communist Party was involved in espionage and conspiracy.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 84 people found the following review helpful By James Crabtree (flakkommander@yahoo.com) on October 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book should result in the rewriting of some aspects of our history. The idea that American Communists were just trying to create Socialism in America with "guidance" from their fraternal brothers and sisters in Russia is a blatent lie: as the authors show, the CPUSA was a puppet for the Soviets, doing their bidding. Particularly disturbing was the aspect of Americans attending military courses while in Moscow and wearing Red Army uniforms. A dark chapter in American history unveiled.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 10, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is another terrific volume in that valuable and terrific series - "The Annals of Communism". The 92 documents provided in this book demonstrate clearly the way that American communism was used by the Soviet Union as a base of intelligence gathering. This is not to say that every American communist was disloyal, but that the funding and organization was provided from Moscow for purposes far from merely ideological.
There is also a very good discussion of the Soviet involvement in the American and Canadian brigades that went to the Spanish Civil War (there is another great volume in this series specifically on this, by the way). And more background on Elizabeth Bently, the Perlo Group and the early funding of early American communists such as John Reed (who received more than a million dollars).
There is only a bit here on Venona, Hiss, Greenglass, and the Rosenbergs, however. Although what is here is mostly summary material. There are other volumes you can turn to for more comprehensive and concrete discussions of these topics. This book does state their guilt with the view that Ethel Rosenberg was used as a wedge against Julius and called the government's bluff.
It is a very fine volume that I am glad to have in my library. There are two appendices: the first on the archival record and the second on the organization of the American Communist Party. There is also a list of selected readings and an index.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By D. Mohr on September 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As the authors make clear in the introduction, this book presents only a handful of thousands of documents regarding American communism which they found in ex-Soviet archives.
The authors note that most scholorship of the fifties, sixties and seventies painted a fairly accurate picture of American communism. According to this picture, well documented here, the Soviet Union used the American communist parties as tools for Soviet foriegn policy. To that end, the Soviet Union funded the parties, controlled their public policy, directed undergound and subversive activities, and used the parties to recruit and control spies.
Much of the prose is rather dry. The authors present primary document after primary document, with limited commentary interspersed between them.
While some people may not like the picture this book paints of what Lenin called "useful fools" (Westerners who naively advanced the Soviet's imperialistic ambitions) they can not deny the evidence.
Finally, the brevity of this account makes it a good primer on the secretive nature of an organization dedicated to an ideology bent on undermining individual freedom. However, it should not serve as the sole source of information on the subject.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Robt. Stemme on December 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Two scholars and interpreters deep in the Comintern archive. You get Morris Cohen's application to join the International Brigades. Primary source evidence of Soviet control of CPUSA and the cross pollinization into intelligence and information gathering. A must read for Comintern addicts.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. St Onge on May 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
After World War II, as the Seventy Years war heated up, various defectors from the Communist cause told the world that the Communist Party, USA was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union, which was dedicated to foisting it's system on the world through espionage and subversion. Cooler heads said they were paranoid nuts.
Well guess what? The "paranoids" were dead right. When the Soviet Union dissolved, various closed archives became available to Western researchers, including the secret records of the Communist International and the CPUSA. They showed that the all the worst things said about Communism for years were exactly true. Read the long denied truth in this excellent volume.
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