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Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Commies 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 ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Encounter Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent memoir of a red diaper baby and his journey. And it holds enough of a name drop and "he was there and this is what we spoke of" aspect to captivate. Because he really does the journey of the title in close associations and joining entity action too.

It was especially enthralling to me because as difficult as all these groups and directions are in history and in identification, I had contact myself with one or two of the Chicago branches. In fact my earliest history prof. at
Jan 25, 2010 rated it liked it
quite interesting if you are familiar with the socialist left. He never
really explains how he made the leap to being a rightwinger. He does
claim that Ronald Reagan gave us full employment (unlike his former
comrades Michael Harrington and Irving Howe). A lot of his criticism of
the left is or seems legitimate. Of course, a lot of leftists have had
similar experiences or come to similar conclusions but never became
rightwingers. He has a number of damning ancedotes. But a lot of people
he criticizes
Similar to, but more succinct, than Horowitz's Radical Son, it details the author's political journey from lefty to conservative. Particularly excellent are his scholarly takes on the Rosenberg case (at 169; Rosenberg was a Soviet spy) and on Pete Seeger taking artistic direction from Joe Stalin (at 35).
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title misrepresents this book a little. It's a memoir of an old lefty, born red, and his journey towards leaving behind that perspective, with a lot of information on his personal role in those movements. Good as a condemnation of American communism, but still, it is just a memoir.
Tom Costello
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Radosh has lead an interesting life. He presents events colored by his current views. Early in the book he implies that everyone on the left or anyone espousing a progressive point of view was a Communist. This is troubling.
Rhonda Keith
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although this book was published in 2001, Radosh recently (2014) discussed it on the book channel, which makes me wonder why there would be renewed interest in the book since you usually don't find reviews of books that old on TV.

Ronald Radosh was a red diaper baby from New York City. Decades of activism, in fact a career of commitment to the communist faith (and it is a matter of faith, not reason), could not keep him from reverting to reality. Why he changed and other communists did not is
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting personal history of a man who spent much of his life on the far left of the political spectrum. Commies tells of Radosh's journey through the Communist, Socialist, Soviet-sympathizer and other Fellow-Traveler circles in the America of the latter-half of the Twentieth Century, and of his eventual disillusionment with and abandonment of hard-left ideologies. I burned though it, eager to learn what drives those on the left to thinking the way they do, and what can lead someone who's ...more
Thorn MotherIssues
I'm really trying to learn more about the dissenting left in the '50s-'80s and this story of Radosh's time in and move away from the left as part of that project. It's a strange mix of name-dropping, pointing out hypocrisies (his own and certainly others'), and oversimplification (mostly intentional, I think) of much about the politics and psychology he experienced.
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