Sunday, August 01, 2004

Reading About Commies

I like reading books by and about Communists and former Communists. One reason is that I think it will give me some insight into the related phenomenon of Islamo-fascism, which would not be badly described as the Communism of the 21st century. Indeed, ‘Islamo-bolshevism’ might be a better appellation than ‘Islamo-fascism.’ Here are some out-of-the-way titles I have dug up recently. I have found them both enlightening and entertaining. Being a ‘fair and balanced’ kind of guy, I read materials both sympathetic and hostile to Communism.

Vivian Gornick, The Romance of American Communism (New York: Basic Books, 1977). Consists of sympathetic biographical sketches of numerous American communists. A very enjoyable read for those who enjoy psychology and biography.

Aileen Kraditor, “Jimmy Higgins”: The Mental World of the American Rank-and-File Communist, 1930-1958 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1988). An academic sociological study by a former Commie, and Boston University professor “written from a conservative standpoint.” (Preface) Strongly recommended, and of course ignored by leftists. Note that I didn’t say,‘suppressed by leftists,’ because that is the silly way they talk. To ignore something is not to suppress it, any more than to refuse to sponsor or subsidize something is to censor it.

Bella V. Dodd, School of Darkness (New York: P. J. Kennedy, date?) Bella Dodd’s idealism swept her up into the Communist Party, as it did Whittaker Chambers and so many of the best and brightest of their generation. But after wasting years of her life in the C.P., it spit her out. Disillusioned, she turned to Catholicism, taking instruction from none other than Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in New York City. She had come to the conclusion that the brotherhood of man is possible only under the fatherhood of God. Her book is available on-line here.