An unpretentious, straightforwardly personal retrospection by an American communist who left the party in 1958. Charney was one of the ""second-string"" leaders tried under the Smith Act. His story is not unusual. He was trained in economics and law, and he joined the party in the '30's, he says, because of Scottsboro, Hitler, the Depression, and faith in the Soviet Union. His account of party work in New England and New York is interlaced with criticism of the party structure, tactical stupidities, its essential tack of consistency, principle and independence. It took Khrushchev's revelations to shake his Stalinist faith; he seems never to have been much of a Marxist-Leninist, but rather a good-hearted activist; now he admires Camus and JFK. The book refracts the past forty years with far more attention to Charney's comrades and party shakeups than to major events like the Moscow Trials, the Wallace campaign, or the Rosenberg case; reminiscing contemporaries will predominate among its readers. At least it struggles against the ex-Communist temptation to Schadenfreude, and if it lacks intellectual interest, it does provide some footnotes to broader histories like Bell's and Draper's.