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Bella Dodd ranks with Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley as a leading converted communist. Her testimony before investigating committees has revealed the extent to which communist infiltration has taken place particularly among the teachers in our schools and colleges. This well written record of her life indicates very clearly how she happened to become a member of the Communist Party and the reasons for her gradual disillusionment and final break with the party and her eventual return to the Catholic church into which she was born. The daughter of Italian immigrant parents, Bella Visino climbed the ladder so many children of immigrants have mounted by taking full advantage of the educational advantages offered in our public school system. A brilliant student and a born leader, she worked her way into a teaching position at Hunter College, studying law on the side. During the depression years she became concerned with the plight of the unemployed particularly in the teaching profession. There she encountered many communists who seemed to her to be the ones most concerned with the plight of teachers. She saw in the Communist Party a vehicle thru which she could express her love of humanity, and her vision of a better society with wider social justice. In time she became a member of the Party's National Committee, and was intensely active in combating the Rapp-Coudert investigation of communist teachers, in supporting Loyalist Spain and in the ""united democratic front"" maintained during World War II. She was gradually repelled by the dictatorial methods of the Party and the constant struggle for power on the part of individuals and groups. Her divorce from her husband, and her own ill health speeded her estrangement from the Party leaders and resulted in her expulsion from the Party in 1949. Her re-entrance into the Catholic Church which as a communist she had so bitterly attacked was a logical result of her new state of mind. Not as sensational as Chambers' book, but the more effective because it is a straight-forward account of her experiences with communism.

Pub Date: Dec. 9th, 1954
Publisher: P. J. Kenedy