THE DECLINE OF AMERICAN COMMUNISM by David A. Shannon

THE DECLINE OF AMERICAN COMMUNISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is an excellent study of the declining fortunes of the American Communist Party since the end of World War II. The author has written this history with complete objectivity, yet with a surprisingly intimate knowledge of his subject matter. He has come by this knowledge the hard way, through a great deal of research, many interviews and much reading. In his Bibliographical Essay at the end of the book, the author indicates the extent of his labors. The book itself does not reveal anything particularly new or upsetting about the Communist Party. However, it does show how the Party has inevitably cooked its own goose by its inability to make any adjustment at all to political reality. What may startle the reader is to see how closely the American Communist Party has resembled its Russian counterpart in aims and tactics, spirit, dogma, and vocabulary. One easily becomes interested in these strange people simply from the clinical point of view. Here they are (or were) in the freest society in the world, with access to any free source of information they should need, yet parroting a party line which more and more has become less tenable. Yet this fanatic fixation with Marxist authority was able to hold within its grasp men of intelligence and education. The only conclusion one can come to is that the Communists in this country have been a neurotic bunch more interested in destroying themselves than capitalism. While Mr. Shannon only hints that there may be something emotionally wrong with the Communists, he writes of them with the assumption that they were acting rationally. Another study, however, might investigate the pathological side of the story.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1959
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace