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Customer Review

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Facts to slay the die hard deniers of espionage., February 7, 1999
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This review is from: The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America - The Stalin Era (Hardcover)
My original review:
For reasons still unclear, President Franklin Roosevelt had a mental block about Communism. He just couldn't believe that the Soviet Union would spy on his administration. In the late thirties, his political enemies insisted on pointing out reasons to believe that the Soviets had in fact penetrated the govt. Thus began a long running political controversy.
By the seventies, this should have been settled. Weinstein's previous book, PERJURY, and Robert Lamphere's THE FBI/KGB WAR: A SPECIAL AGENT'S STORY had established beyond reasonable doubt that large numbers of USAmericans had been Soviet spies, particularly those exposed by ex-spies such as Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley.
If you are new to the story, THE HAUNTED WOOD is probably the best introduction to the tale of Soviet espionage in the Stalin era. If you're one of the ones with unreasonable doubts, it will crush your last pretenses, because the KGB let Weinstein and Vassiliev look at some of their files, confirming the identities of numerous agents. But if you're one of those who has previously looked into this subject, there won't be much new. Worth reading, but no bombshells.
Afterword, 2002:
I've come to appreciate this volume more with time. There is valuable information here that I didn't notice on my first reading. And, as I said before, it is the best introduction to the subject of espionage against the United States by the former Soviet Union (and I still LOVE typing 'former Soviet Union.' ...)
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 8, 2011 5:42:36 AM PDT
Excellent and helpful review. My only attempts at reading about the Communist infiltration into America have been "Hollywood Party" and "Reagan's War", and just a bit of "Witness". Your review tells me that I probably need to read this one next.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2014 8:59:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jun 22, 2014 9:39:31 AM PDT
Publicus says:

FDR was a very sick man & was physically & mentally debilitated during the latter part of his Presidency. (See "FDR's Deadly Secret," by Eric Fettmann.) As a consequence, he didn't work very much & relied heavily on his advisers.

He chose a VP (Wallace) that was all but an announced communist, surrounded himself with communist agents and/or communist sympathizers, embarked on big government socialist programs, provided generous support & backing for Soviet causes, turned a blind eye to Soviet abuses, & had a wife that was piquantly pink. Don't those things help you to understand FDR better? If not, here are some other readings that will help you understand FDR's mindset.

The left believed big government socialism was the way of the future. They bought into it hook, line, & sinker.

The Soviets' avowed purpose was to subvert & convert other countries to communism. Stalin realized America likely would not revolt like the Russians did during the Bolshevik Revolution. Therefore, he sought to subvert it from within by having clandestine high level agents in our government influence the policies & directions America would take. See "Stalin's Secret Agents," by Stan Evans & Herbert Romerstein.

Stalin also abandoned the Comintern as the instrument of change & turned to the NKVD, GRU, & KGB to get the jobs done, as they proved themselves to be far more effective instruments of change than the Comintern had ever been.

Please read "The Unnecessary War," by Patrick Buchanan in order to fathom some of the consequences.

"The New Deal will be the mechanism whereby we proceed, step by step, without violent revolution, all the way to socialism." Earl Browder, head of the Communist Party in America during FDR's administration

"We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism overnight, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism." ~ Nikita Khrushchev, describing Soviet tactics & strategies

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2014 5:09:23 PM PST
FDR refused to believe in Communist infiltration of his administration IN THE 1930s, WHEN HE WAS STILL FAIRLY HEALTHY.

And Henry Wallace was not a Communist agent. NaÔve, almost a fool, but not a commie, as he showed when the Korean war started.

Besides, FDR had actual Soviet agents of influence as his advisors, such as Lauchlin Currie.

Yes, I know Stalin was trying to subvert the U.S. But that's a different subject than the one this book addresses.

Posted on Jun 18, 2014 8:49:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 18, 2014 8:50:49 AM PDT
Ralph Yates says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2014 8:07:39 AM PDT
My, Mr. Yates post is amusing.

"Red-baiting Republicans and McCarthy-ites have been trying to smear FDR ever since he tried to curtail right-wing abuse in America. The right-wingers even tried a coup with General Smedley Butler called the Business Plot."

The evidence on the so-called 'Business Plot' is Gen. Butler's testimony to the Unamerican Activities Committee that someone tried to get him to set up a fascist organization. The person who supposedly asked him to do this denied the matter under oath, and Butler never met with any of the alleged leaders of the plot. Noted New Deal defender Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. wrote: "No doubt, MacGuire did have some wild scheme in mind, though the gap between contemplation and execution was considerable, and it can hardly be supposed that the Republic was in much danger."

"The anti-FDR group succeeded in installing a permanent department of the federal government called the CIA which has been carrying out their agenda ever since. Our democracy has gone into the dumpster in direct proportion."

Wow, I never knew Harry S Truman was a right-winger who plotted against FDR. Was the boogeyman part of the conspiracy too?

"The anti-FDR people and red-baiters gave us the Kennedy assassinations, Viet Nam War, and Nixon."

Yeah, Lee Oswald, communist, was a right winger, as was Sirhan Sirhan. Truman, JFK, and LBJ sent troops to Viet Nam because the right-wing controlled them. And Nixon won seven of nine elections because the voters all take orders from the secret Far Right conspiracy.

"Communism is gone but the shadow fascist police state permanent war military government these great anti-communists gave us is still here. They even have no problem making communist China a favored trading partner (which shows how seriously they themselves take that anti-communist stuff). They do that because they recognize they are both authoritarian-type governments."

So, China is Communist, but Communism is gone.

"Weinstein said he would give his notes, documents, and tapes over to the Truman library to have the accuracy of what he wrote tested. He stalled and never did."

So Weinstein hung onto his research material. Big deal. Most of it is available from public sources, such as the FBI files he obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

"Meanwhile there's good reason to believe an early version of CIA fabricated the typewriter that was used to convict Hiss of spying."

A complete lie. All known attempts to fake a typewriter so well that a document expert would be fooled have failed. The documents examiner Hiss hired for his appeal was reduced to saying (I paraphrase) 'If you assume that a perfect forgery of a typewriter is possible, than maybe these documents were typed oon some machine other than the one he oowned. If you don't assume that, then I'd have to say that they were typed on his machine.' The first part of that is a tautology: if perfect forgery is possible, you can't prove authenticity. The second part is the major reason Hiss went to the pen.

Btw, Hiss was convicted of perjury, not spying.

" Nixon even admitted it to Colson."

Another lie. Nixon made an offhand remark about the case over twenty years after it happened, saying (iirc) "We got the typewriter." Except he didn't. Hiss got it, and tried to hide it. Only after the FBI found out that he had it did Hiss produce it.

Thanks for the laugh. Suggestion: next time, throw in the Jewish bankers, the Illuminati, and the Freemasons when you write this kind of thing.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2014 8:56:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 22, 2014 9:35:30 AM PDT
Publicus says:
Mr. Yates,

Hiss was found guilty of lying about not being a spy, after the statute of limitations for prosecuting him as a spy had lapsed. Plus, the Pumpkin Papers, witnesses' testimony, the Venona Decrypts, & Americans' examinations of the Soviet archives after the Soviet Union collapsed all confirmed that Hiss was a spy. Read "Stalin's Secret Agents," by Evans & Romerstein.

You claim "there's good reason to believe an early version of CIA fabricated the typewriter that was used to convict Hiss of spying." Hmmm? Well, Truman & a Democrat Congress were in control of our government at the time. So, if you're correct, that's strong condemnation of the Democrats & the CIA for falsifying evidence in a criminal trial. Persons that participated in that scheme were liars, cheats, & lowlife criminals.

And if you don't like the trajectory of our nation, recognize that Democrats controlled Congress from 1932 until 1994 when the GOP gained control for a brief period of time.

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 6:37:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2014 6:48:07 AM PDT
Ralph Yates says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2014 11:49:08 AM PDT
Mr. Yates, I didn't think you could get funnier, but you topped yourself.

"By the way, one month to the day after the Kennedy assassination Harry Truman wrote an editorial to the Washington Post regretting ever signing the CIA into being. Truman said the intelligence gathering arm of the government had grown into a monster that was now enforcing politics without any constitutional oversight. The timing of the editorial was not an accident. It was quickly removed from later editions of the Post that day and buried. Allen Dulles even made a personal visit to Truman asking him to recant. (What was Dulles afraid of?)"

And no reference, so we can't look it up and see what HST said. But I did see him criticize the CIA in print in other places, so apparently our Evil Overlords were asleep that day.

"You right-wingers are all liars. For instance you try to pin blame on Truman without honestly admitting the people who were really in charge were part of that permanent military/fascist CIA government I reference."

Harry Truman, puppet of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. I laughed out loud. (Really. My wife in the next room asked what was funny.)

"If you do research Weinstein's Russian interpreter publicly disagreed with his translation of the KGB files. The original KGB file releases mentioned nothing about Hiss being a spy."

The KGB operative who helped with the book, Alexander Vassiliev, copied down portions of the files that he wasn't allowed to show Weinstein. The explicitely identified Hiss as a spy for the GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence). Read all about it in Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America.

"Why would FBI need to forge a typewriter if Hiss was that guilty?"

They wouldn't. But then, neither the FBI nor anyone else ever forged a typewriter so that it could fool a documents examiner. Hiss's lawyers spent years trying to do that, and their own documents expert admitted that the differences were still obvious to the trained eye.

"Only FOX News fascists would try to pin blame on the democrats and gain more ground by that pathetic formula. The more you people write the more you prove my point."

It was Truman's Justice department that decided to prosecute Hiss for perjury, for which they deserve much credit. That same Justice Department got the Rosenbergs, and other Soviet spies. Bravo Harry. My one political regret in life is that I was never able to vote for Harry Truman for President, but then, I hadn't been born when he retired from office.
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