Sunday Book Review: “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century”

January 11, 2015

book cover kengor dupes

Dupes is good book on an important, under-covered aspect of our political history: the relationship over the last nearly 100 years between liberals and progressives, on the one hand, and the communists (big “C” and small “c”) who used them to advance their goals. The book is meticulously footnoted and historian Paul Kengor is scrupulously fair to his subjects, often at pains to point out that the targets of the communists’ most vicious attacks were not conservatives and Republicans, but anti-communist liberals, such as Harry Truman and Woodrow Wilson.

On the subject of dupes, Kengor writes:

This is a book about dupes, about those Americans who have unwittingly aided some of the worst opponents of the United States. Misled about the true aims of foreign adversaries, many Americans (and other Westerners) have allowed themselves to be manipulated to serve opponents’ interests.

He rightly notes that for the duped, the main enemy was always to the Right, not the communists who were committing atrocities year after year, to which these dupes were blind, sometimes willfully so. Among the revelations (or perhaps just “arguments settled”) in the book are Senator Ted Kennedy’s clandestine offer to cooperate with the USSR against President Reagan and the truth that most of the famous “Hollywood Ten” really were members of the Communist Party, or at least highly sympathetic toward Stalin.

The book brings the topic of “dupery” into the modern era by connecting the generations of communists and socialists from the 1920s through the 60s radicals (especially the SDS and Weatherman) to those same radicals’ connections to President Obama in his Chicago days. It closes with an intriguing look at whether Humphrey Bogart, who violently denounced the communists when he discovered he had been duped over the Hollywood Ten, was himself a member of the Party or at least very sympathetic toward it at a low point in his life in 1934. Again, Kengor is very judicious in his analysis of the available evidence.

If I have one criticism, it’s that the book seems more a history of the communists and socialists, than of the dupes they played for sometimes-willing suckers. Still, Dupes fills a gap in our country’s recent history and is well-worth reading. The book is available in Kindle and hardcover formats. As for the Kindle edition, I’m happy to say I encountered no typos or formatting problems, which are all too common in e-books. Kengor’s writing style flows easily, sometimes conversational, but is never unprofessional.

Recommended.

RELATED: I earlier reviewed Paul Kengor’s “The Communist,” his biography of Frank Marshall Davis, President Obama’s Stalinist mentor during his Hawaiian boyhood.

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Bookshelf update: Dupes — How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century

November 7, 2014

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, Paul Kengor’s “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

book cover kengor dupes

I’m only a few chapters into it, so far, but it has been an interesting discussion of how Communists in the 20th century targeted non-communist liberals and progressives to be suckered into supporting the USSR and the Communist movement against the United States. Kengor notes that the efforts of the duped were not nearly as often aimed at conservatives as they were at anti-communist liberal Democrats and progressives, Harry Truman being a  particular target.

The author seems fair in his treatment of the Democrats, reminding us that there were many who, while liberal or progressive, were staunchly anti-communist — including those who had once been duped, but saw the light. You’ll be surprised at the names that appear in the book, both  “recovered” dupes and those who played the fool till the day they died. The work is extensively footnoted with references to primary sources (both Soviet and American), and Kengor has an easy writing style. The book is available in both Kindle (1) and hardcover formats.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. But I still think it’s a good book.

Footnote:
(1) I’m happy to say I’ve found very few typos or formatting errors, so far. These are all too common in Kindle e-books.


Climate Change: scratch a Green, find a Red

September 24, 2014
Watermelons

Watermelons

The anonymous photo-blogger Zombie does an invaluable service by visiting the People’s Climate March in Oakland to record for posterity the ideological core of the modern environmentalist movement: bare-naked statism in the form of totalitarian communism:

Communists along with a few environmental groups staged a “People’s Climate Rally” in Oakland, California on Sunday, September 21, in conjunction with the larger “People’s Climate March” in New York City on the same day.

Wait — did I say communists? Isn’t that a bit of an exaggeration?

Well…no.

At the New York event, many people noticed that gee, there sure are a lot of communists at this march. But in Oakland — always on the cutting edge — the entire “climate change” movement at last fully, irrevocably and overtly embraced communism as its stated goal. Any concerns about “optics” or operating in “stealth mode” were abandoned.

The “climate change” “crisis” is now nothing but the latest justification for “total revolution” and getting rid of capitalism forever.

Zombie Climate March Oakland

(Photo credit: Zombie)

Be sure to read the whole thing. Remember, it’s not about polar bears and rising seas, it’s about control.

RELATED: For more about the Socialist origins and nature of the global-warming scare, read Christopher Booker’s “The Real Global Warming Disaster” and James Delingpole’s “Watermelons.”


More on Howard Zinn, historian and commie propagandist

August 5, 2010

Ron Radosh, himself a former Lefty and very familiar with the history of Communist and other radical movements in the US, has posted a very good examination of Zinn’s history as a Leftist in light of what was revealed in the recently released FBI dossiers.  Here’s one quote that shows I was wrong to call him a tool of Stalin; Zinn was actually to the Left of Uncle Joe and the CPUSA:

By this time, it is clear that Howard Zinn had long departed from CP ranks. If anything, he was far to the left of the official American CP. During the war in Vietnam, they backed the moderate group known as “Negotiations Now,” which sought a negotiated settlement of the war, and had the support of people like Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Irving Howe. Zinn became the architect of advocacy of unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam and a North Vietnamese victory. In 1978 he and others went to North Vietnam in a solidarity trip, and to arrange the release of a tiny minority of American POW’s, a propaganda coup for the North Vietnamese government.

Internally, Zinn gave his support to the black radicals in SNCC, as well as the militant new group, the Black Panther Party. He called all blacks in American prisons “political prisoners,” and said that the United States “has been a police state for a long time.” He also gave his backing to myriad far left groups, including the Maoist Progressive Labor Party, the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, and the Third World revolutionary nations of Cuba and North Vietnam.  One did not need FBI reports to learn what he stood for. In a 1965 article found in the files, Zinn praised the New Left for having “no illusions about Reds,” and for seeing “Stalinism unmasked.” His position was one of “moral equivalence,” in which he equated the totalitarian East with the democratic West as evil centers of power, the United States being the most culpable.

And the textbook this clown wrote is now considered a standard in many high school and college classes. Nice.


Howard Zinn: historian and card-carrying Commie

August 1, 2010

I can’t say I’m shocked at the revelation that Howard Zinn, favorite historian of the progressive Left and Matt Damon, was a member of the Moscow-aligned Communist Party-USA and a willing tool of Stalin. It’s one of those “I kind of suspected this all along” things, sort of like suspecting John Edwards really is a supreme jerk or that touching a hot stove really will get you burned. It just figures.

But, if you’re interested in digging into the evidence, R.S. McCain has done the heavy spadework in a very through article.

(via Obi’s Sister)

LINKS: Much more at Memeorandum.