RETURN TO MY FATHER'S HOUSE: Odyssey of an Ex-Communist by Maurice Malkin

RETURN TO MY FATHER'S HOUSE: Odyssey of an Ex-Communist

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Born into the anti-Semitic horrors of a tsarist village, Malkin came to the U.S. as a boy and through his Bolshevik brothers was at once involved in the socialist movement here. Now 72, he has been a vehement anti-Communist for more than 30 years, to the point of wishing the Palmer Raids had continued. His story of his 19 years in the Communist Party (whose founding he witnessed) shows the Party's most despicable side: his chief activity, for instance, was recruiting goons for battles to take over labor unions. But on the theoretical front Malkin seems to have gleaned only the most debased scraps of Marxism; it seems unlikely that he would deliberately pretend such ignorance. A brief association with Trotsky during the latter's New York refuge inspired him momentarily, but his pro-Trotsky leanings are cited as the reason the Party let him languish in jail after the 1926 furriers' strike. Soon after his release Malkin left the party in an anti-Communist flourish and presently told the Dies Committee all about ""Communist Party graft, corruption, and alliances with gangsters and Communist control of trade unions,"" whereupon he was attacked by C.P. thugs, he says. Nevertheless, he continued his career as a professional agent and informer. The book, written in an alternately banal and inflammatory style, includes dubious but colorful incidents (Malkin confronts Mike Quill, accusing him of having fought for the Black and Tans in Ireland) and various wild allegations (Jane Addams a secret party member!) plus an unusual number of misspelled names and factual errors (e.g., it was Marx's father, not Marx, who converted from Judaism). Altogether an unreliable story of squalid activities both for and against the Communist Party.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Arlington House