Radosh is more interesting as an intellect than as a writer, and his account tends to drag on endlessly—especially when he...

COMMIES

A JOURNEY THROUGH THE OLD LEFT, THE NEW LEFT AND THE LEFTOVER LEFT

The fascinating but exhausting political memoirs of Radosh (Divided They Fell, 1996, etc.), a classic Red-diaper-baby who lost faith in his parents’ ideals and became a neoconservative.

As a boy growing up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, Radosh was taught to look forward to the Revolution much as his ancestors had been told to await the Messiah. Both of his parents were ardent Communists who had made pilgrimages to Russia and worked for a variety of party causes in New York. Radosh himself spent his summers at Camp Wo-Chi-Ca (“Workers’ Children’s Camp”—where he learned revolutionary songs from Pete Seeger) and was expelled from the Safety Patrol at PS 173 for refusing to accept an academic award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. After high school he went to study at the University of Wisconsin (mainly because it was the only campus in America that had an above-ground communist student group in the 1950s), but he eventually returned to New York to teach history in the CUNY system. Taking advantage of newly opened government archives, Radosh began to research a study of the Rosenberg case, hoping to exonerate the couple (whose children he had known at summer camp) of the treason charges for which they were executed in 1953. Instead, he came to the conclusion that they had, in fact, passed atomic secrets to the Russians after all. In 1983, he published his findings in The Rosenberg File—and promptly became a pariah on the Left. His later doubts about the benevolence of the Sandinistas (and the political intelligence of their limo-liberal supporters in the US) helped clear Radosh’s mind, and he broke definitively with his old comrades. This caused him some distress, not all of which was personal, and he had a hard time finding academic posts afterwards. He now lives in Washington, DC, where he works for a policy research center at George Washington University.

Radosh is more interesting as an intellect than as a writer, and his account tends to drag on endlessly—especially when he is settling old scores.

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-893554-05-8

Page Count: 216

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2001

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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