tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > The Roots of American Communism

The Roots of American Communism by Theodore Draper
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really liked it
bookshelves: politics

I picked this up from the library for a buck at the same time that I got "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer: Transcript of Hearing before Personnel Security Board and Texts of Principal Documents and Letters". It was this latter bk that I was most interested in given that I think it's highly interesting that the technical director of the Manhattan Project (the development of nuclear weapons in the US) wd not long after be put under scrutiny for his communist sympathies.

SO, I got "The Roots of American Communism" to read so I cd have some background history before getting into the biz about Oppenheimer - & history in great detail I did get. One of the things that interested me about this bk was that it was written & published during the beginning of the decline of the McCarthy Era. The bk is ostensibly written from an anti-communist perspective &, according to a Wikipedia bio, Draper was a communist turned anti-communist, but Draper's acct is more of a thorough timeline in wch most of the communists are often presented as dedicated, energetic, well-meaning & intelligent people.

While the bk is, indeed, extremely thorough in its history of who was who, where these whos were, what their various names were, & when they did what they did I didn't actually find much in the bk about the actual philosophy, the actual political motivations of the people involved. As such, it sortof reminds me of my mom, a virulent anti-communist who, when I asked her what communism was when I was a kid in the early 1960s, was unable to give me even the simplest definition. She was a typical brainwashed suburbanite - a total victim of propaganda she didn't believe existed.

Draper obviously has a much deeper understanding but either such definitions were outside the purview of the bk or he was treading lightly b/c of McCarthyism or? Whatever the case, the bk is scholarly & cd've arguably been used to make a case that these communists were upstanding citizens trying to better the world. He clearly has an admiration for many of them - esp the self-made intellectuals (a type dear to me).
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 6, 2010 – Finished Reading
April 11, 2010 – Shelved
April 11, 2010 – Shelved as: politics

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