In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage

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9781594030888: In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage
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Beginning in the late 1960s, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr say, the study of communism in America was taken over by "revisionists" who have attempted to portray the U.S. as the aggressor in the Cold War and saw suspicion about the American Communist Party (CPUSA) as baseless "paranoia." In this intriguing book, they show how, years after the death of communism, the leading historical journals and many prominent historians continue to teach that America's rejection of the Party was a tragic error, that American Communists were actually unsung heroes working for democratic ideals, and that those anti-Communist liberals and conservatives who drove the CPUSA to the margins of American politics in the 1950s were malicious figures deserving condemnation. The focus of "In Denial" is what the authors call "lying about spying." Haynes and Klehr examine the ways in which revisionist scholars have ignored or distorted new evidence from recently-opened Russian archives about espionage links between Moscow and the CPUSA. They analyze the mythology that continues to suggest, against all evidence, that Alger Hiss, Julius Rosenberg, Harry Dexter White, Lauchlin Currie, and others who betrayed the United States were more sinned against than sinning. They set the record straight about the spies among us. Haynes and Klehr were the first U.S. historians who used the newly opened archives of the former Soviet Union to examine the history of American communism. "In Denial" is the record of what they discovered there. They show that while the international communist movement may be dead, conflict over the meaning of the communist experience in America is still very much with us.

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About the Author:

John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr

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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