The Secret World of American Communism

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 1996 - History - 348 pages
2 Reviews
For the first time, the hidden world of American communism can be examined with the help of documents from the recently opened archives of the former Soviet Union. By interweaving narrative and documents, the authors of this book present a convincing new picture of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), one of the most controversial organizations in American public life. Heated debates about whether the Communist Party harbored spies or engaged in espionage have surrounded the party from its inception. This authoritative book provides proof that the CPUSA was involved in various subversive activities. At the same time, it discloses fascinating details about the workings of the party and about the ordinary Americans and CPUSA leaders who participated in its clandestine activities.

The documents presented range from letters by Americans wishing to do international covert work for the Soviet Union to top secret memos between the head of Soviet foreign intelligence, the Comintern, and the CPUSA. They confirm that

--the Soviet Union heavily subsidized the CPUSA and that some prominent Americans laundered money for the Comintern;

--the CPUSA maintained a covert espionage apparatus in the United States with direct ties to Soviet intelligence;

--the testimony of former Communists concerning underground Communist activity in the United States can be substantiated;

--American Communists working in government agencies stole documents and passed them to the CPUSA, which sent them on to Moscow;

--the CPUSA played a role in atomic espionage;

and much more.

An engrossing narrative places the documents in their historical context and explains key figures, organizations, and events. Together the narrative and documents provide a revealing picture of American communism and convey the contradictory passions that drew so many Americans into the Communist movement and eventually tore that movement apart.
 

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User Review  - CTBrooks - LibraryThing

For those interested in the Spanish Civil War, Klehr's work holds only limited interest. Klehr presents several primary documents from the Russian Archives. The focus is primarily on the disapearance ... Read full review

Contents

chapter three The Secret Apparatus of the CPUS
71
chapter four The Secret Apparatus Branches Out
119
chapter five Other Faces of the Secret World
188
chapter six The American Communist Party the Secret
205
chapter seven The American Communist Underground
259
chapter eight Soviet Intelligence
292
chapter nine Conclusion
322
Appendix A The Archival Record
329
Selected Readings
337
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