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Ronald Radosh's earliest memory is of being trundled off to May Day celebrations by his communist parents with a Soviet flag stuck in his baby carriage. Then came education at New York's 'little red schoolhouse'. Summers at 'commie camp'. And college at the University of Wisconsin where he became a founding father of the New Left. This book is a brilliant memoir of growing up in the culture of radicalism. But it also about the hard decisions faced by those professing a radical faith. For Radosh himself, the crisis came when he concluded in his authoritative book on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg that the couple (in whose behalf he had demonstrated as a boy) had indeed been guilty of spying. Attacked as a 'traitor', Radosh began to question his political commitments. His disillusionment climaxed in the 1980s when he travelled through Central America as a journalist and historian and ran into his old comrades there still searching for the revolution.
Until now, Hollywood's political history has been dominated by a steady stream of films and memoirs decrying the "nightmare" of the Red Scare and how it victimized political innocents. But in Red Star over Hollywood, Ronald and Allis Radosh tell for the first time the "backstory" behind this myth. The authors show how the Soviet Comintern decided to make the film capital a prime target in the late 1920s. They follow the lives of Budd Schulberg, Ring Lardner Jr., Maurice Rapf and other young radicals who journeyed to the USSR in the early 1930s, underwent a political conversion experience there, and came back to Hollywood as apostles preaching a Soviet gospel. They take us inside the cells and discussion groups that Communist Party members formed, the guilds and unions they tried to take over, and the studios they aimed to influence. The Radoshes not only prove that the members of the Hollywood Party were loyal first and foremost to Joseph Stalin, but demonstrate that in fact many of the screenwriters who later became part of the Hollywood Ten succeeded in using film as a propaganda medium in behalf of the Soviet cause. One of their most significant accomplishments was the wartime blockbuster Mission to Moscow, whose inside story the authors document in fascinating detail. The Radoshes are at their best when writing about the blacklist era. They take us inside the strategy sessions of the Hollywood Communists as they prepared to testify in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, revealing that while others were lionizing them as blameless victims of American nativism and paranoia, the Hollywood Reds themselves were beset by doubts and disagreements about their disloyalty to America and their treatment by the Communist Party. Creating memorable portraits of Dalton Trumbo, Elia Kazan and John Garfield, the authors also trace the afterlives of those touched by HUAC and the blacklist, and document their continuing argument with America and each other through the next half-century. Red Star over Hollywood is an epic work about one of the most discussed but least understood episodes in our political life. Getting behind the denial and apologetics, the Radoshes tell a story whose long half-life has not ended. The men and women who agitated for Communism decades ago created a living legacy used by Jane Fonda and others who revived the Hollywood Left in the 1960s, and by figures such as Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn in the equally turbulent filmland politics of today. Ronald Radosh, adjunct Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, was the first writer to establish the guilt of Julius Rosenberg, in his bestselling book, The Rosenberg File. He is also the author of Commies: A Journey Through The Old Left, The New Left, and the Leftover Left. Allis Radosh is the author of Persia Campbell: Portrait of a Consumer Activist.
On May 14, 1948, under the stewardship of President Harry S. Truman, the United States became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel--just moments after sovereignty had been declared in Jerusalem. But it was hardly a foregone conclusion that America would welcome the creation of this new country. While acknowledging this as one of his proudest moments, Truman also admitted that no issue was "more controversial or more complex than the problem of Israel." As the president told his closest advisers, these attempts to resolve the issue of a Jewish homeland had left him in a condition of "political battle fatigue." Based on never-before-used archival material, A Safe Haven is the most complete account to date of the events that led to this historic occasion. Allis and Ronald Radosh explore the national and global pressures bearing on Truman and the people-including the worldwide Jewish community, key White House advisers, the State Department, the British, the Arabs, and the representatives of the new United Nations-whose influence, on both sides, led to his decision. Impeccably researched, brilliantly told, A Safe Haven is a suspenseful, moment-by-moment re-creation of this crossroads in U.S.-Israeli relations and Middle Eastern politics.