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Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony's Long Romance With the Left: Library Edition [Livre audio] [Anglais] [MP3 CD]

Ronald Radosh , Allis Radosh , Jeff Riggenbach

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WHAT BETTER PLACE FOR THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION'S PROMISE OF A utopian classless society to take hold than in Hollywood, the capital of dreams? Lire la première page
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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  22 commentaires
122 internautes sur 131 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 REDS WERE NOT PART OF THE RED, WHITE & BLUE 29 mai 2005
Par R. E. Cohen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
REDS WERE NOT PART OF THE RED, WHITE & BLUE - a review by Bob Cohen of "Red Star Over Hollywood" by Ronald & Allis Radosh

Ronald & Allis Radosh's new book: "Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony's Long Romance with the Left" is a brilliant, myth-busting and yet compassionate exploration of the era and the errors of the blacklist in Hollywood.

For ideologues there is only black and white. They allow no paradoxes, complications,and irony that are the ingredients in real life. For the Radoshes these same ingredients make their book read like a political thriller even though we know the outcome.

As Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten, wrote many years later the informers, the informed, and the uninformed were all victims. His disgust with the Communists as time went on is one of the many important revelations compiled in this book. Most moving is the painful questioning by two sons of blacklisted writers (Lawson & Lardner - also part of the Hollywood Ten) of their fathers - what led them, in Jeff Lawson's words, "to believe so strongly in such false concepts."

One of the Radoshes conclusions will surely shock both the extreme left and the extreme right: "But ultimately HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) and the [Communist] Party served each other's purposes." The Party served up real "witches" to rationalize HUAC's witch-hunt proceeding, and HUAC made martyrs of the Reds who were up until then in great trouble with Hollywood liberals because of their fanatic support for Stalin and the Soviet Union, i.e. their turning on the U.S. when Stalin signed a peace pact with Hitler in 1939.

"Red Star Over Hollywood" is necessary reading for folks from all shades of political opinion. When I mentioned this book to a friend who had voted for George W. Bush in the last election, and explained to him what it was about, he responded by asking: what's all the fuss about - the Communists were just another political party, like the Democrats and the Republicans! This book shows that the cultural commissars of the American Communist Party had a covert agenda and that they callously used well-intentioned writers, actors and directors to press that agenda - the propaganda that Stalin was our spotless ally and that anyone who opposed his dictatorship as well as Hitler's was, indeed, a fascist.

The writers also deal with today's romanticization of the "victims" of the blacklist through film, TV documentaries and even the Academy of Motion Pictures apologia exhibit. The irony of the iconization of John Garfield (in a TV documentary written by his daughter) as loyal to the Left, when he, in fact, told HUAC that "the Communist Party was not a legitimate political party such as the Democratic or Republican party," is almost surreal.

Perhaps the biggest irony we see in "Red Star" is that the socialist "paradise" that so many of both the knowing and unknowing Reds yearned for, would have not tolerated their idiosyncracies and would have put them in the Gulag, if they were lucky, or tortured and shot them as they eventually did to Otto Katz who posed as a pure anti-fascist at Hollywood parties in the 30's.

The other side of the pro-Soviet coin that these Hollywood elite played with, was an anti-American outlook. Even when some, such as Trumbo, eventually made their way out of the black and white world of Communist ideology, they weren't able to completely drop the view of the U.S. as the "imperialist, racist" monster they had so long tried to hold at bay.

One last delicious irony. The Hollywood Reds posed as defenders of free speech. John Howard Lawson, one of the most vociferous Stalinists in the group, was honest, at least, in saying (albeit in a private meeting with the Hollywood Ten's lawyers): "'The answer is that you do not believe in freedom of speech for fascists.' As he explained, they were to favor free speech for Communists 'because what they say is true,' whereas what fascists say 'is a lie.'" Not exactly the words of a poster-boy for the ACLU.

This book is well written, concise, and very fair in it's portrayal of what Lillian Hellman called a "scoundrel time" (except that she herself was one of the scoundrels) and sheds a bright light on what is now become received wisdom about the blacklist. In doing so it does more to honor the blacklistees, including those, whom like Elia Kazan remained blacklisted by the Left for the rest of his life, and the blacklisters, then most of the dishonest films, books and TV shows who, once again, exemplify the tunnel vision of the ideologues.
136 internautes sur 147 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Well-documented Exploration of Communism In Hollywood 26 juin 2005
Par Beth Fox - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The McCarthy era is generally portrayed as one of the darkest times in American history, and those who faced blacklisting in Hollywood have been lauded as heroes. Through ground-breaking new research and the reliance on original source materials, the Radoshes have compiled a thorough re-examination of the enchantment by some in the film industry with the Communist Party, and their betrayal by that very same party.

The Radoshes describe the infatuation of "the Hollywood Party" from its roots in the 1930s, when several visited the Soviet Union. They demonstrate that, far from being innocent, the "Hollywood Ten" were committed Communists, who used and abused free-speech supporters (like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall) for their own ends. The Communist Party, in turn, cynically used the "Ten" for its own ends -- trotting them out to speak at unrelated left-wing events for years, which prevented the Ten from individually rehabilitating their images and obtaining work. The authors also describe the way the CP line was inserted in several films, most notoriously, "Mission to Moscow." This film, designed to turn the views of a skeptical American public toward the USSR during World War II, whitewashes Stalin's purge trials of the 1930s, where many truly innocent were tortured into confessing and executed. Perhaps most interesting is the difficult path faced by those who broke with the Party and either "named names" or walked a fine line to avoid naming names. For many, being seen as an informer was worse than preventing and exposing genuine Communist infiltration.

If I have any criticisms of the book, it is that the Radoshes did not take their exploration of the film colony's long romance with the left through the Vietnam War years and today. While the blacklist years were seminal, many in Hollywood contine to lean left even after the fall of the USSR, and take almost reflexively anti-Bush positions today. We are left to wonder what the leftist fathers passed on to their sons. Perhaps the authors will address this issue in a subsequent book. In the meantime, "Red Star Over Hollywood" is well worth reading.
68 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Exploding myths about Red Hollywood 23 septembre 2005
Par Jeffrey Leach - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Remember the Hollywood blacklist? The Hollywood Ten? I'll bet you know a lot about these events even if you weren't alive in the 1950s. That's because Tinseltown has a vested interest in keeping the memory of this era alive. It was the era of the Red Scare, of Senator Joseph McCarthy waving his infamous list of communist subversives during a speech in West Virginia. It was the time of congressional investigations, a time when invoking the Fifth Amendment might keep you safe from a contempt charge but would make you look guilty as sin in the public eye. For a select few the McCarthy era was a time of great fear, and no one feared this witch-hunt against communism more than Hollywood. Why? Because, despite the mountains of claims to the contrary that have emerged over the years, the movie industry oozed communists. There were so many Reds in Hollywood that they should have renamed the town Little Moscow. Yet even today, you won't hear about this truth in the media. You will, however, get the skinny on what really went on if you pick up a copy of Ronald Radosh's "Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony's Long Romance with the Left."

Talk about exploding myths! Radosh's book, which he co-wrote with his wife Allis, cuts through the layers of denial and presents us with an ugly picture of the real Hollywood of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Vladimir Lenin, the little pipsqueak who brought the nightmare of Marxism to the Soviet Union back in the early part of the twentieth century, had a soft spot for film and theater. He believed that the best way to spread communism around the globe was through movies and plays. This is exactly what the Kremlin crowd set out to accomplish in the following decades. They managed to gain converts to their cause--men who later became movers and shakers like Budd Schulberg, Joseph Losey, and Maurice Rapf--by allowing them to work closely with the Soviet film industry. Once these people came back to the United States, they spread their plague to others with the help of party apparatchiks Willi Munzenberg, V.J. Jerome, and John Howard Lawson. In no time at all, writes Radosh, a branch of the communist party flourished in Hollywood. So many big names signed on that newcomers to the industry, in an attempt to make contacts and find work, had to become communists or fellow travelers themselves.

The Hollywood branch of the communist party worked to increase their membership and influence in several ways. One of the most successful methods involved the tried and true "United Frontism" and "Popular Front" techniques, or the forming of organizations that on the surface embraced popular progressive causes to lure in unsuspecting liberals while maintaining strong communist control behind the scenes. Radosh reveals that the concerns many people had about the rise of National Socialist Germany in the 1930s helped increase membership, although the party's propensity to change direction, oftentimes overnight according to directives issued from the Kremlin, tended to alienate many members. Also off putting was the heavy-handed discipline that could fall on an unsuspecting member at any time. Albert Maltz, for example, discovered the inflexibility of the party when he wrote an article deemed "revisionist" by the upper hierarchy. His very public refutation of his article left little doubt about the strong-arm tactics used behind the scenes. Despite the ugliness the Hollywood Reds occasionally displayed, they were somewhat successful in spreading their propaganda through films like "Mission to Moscow," "The Spanish Earth," and "The North Star." Congressional investigations threw some of these dupes in the slammer, and silenced a few more, but many never repudiated their warped views.

I enjoyed Radosh's book, the first one of his I've had the chance to read. The author and his spouse obviously know what they're talking about and, since Ronald Radosh himself was a communist for many years, he understands how these groups think and act. "Red Star Over Hollywood" occasionally suffers from dry prose and a bewildering number of groups and individuals, but the authors always manage to bring the book back up to speed by throwing in some great anecdotes. For instance, the part where we learn about Ronald Reagan (at the time a liberal) and his buddy William Holden crashing a communist get together in an attempt to inject some common sense into the proceedings is great fun to read about. Reagan got up and started talking only to find himself under verbal attack for some forty minutes. God bless him! The account of Albert Maltz's forced rehabilitation is absolutely chilling, a sobering tale that hints at the violent tendencies inherent in communism. Arguably the best part of the book, however, involves the long, strange trip writer Dalton Trumbo took from the time of his blacklisting to his repudiation of the communist party later in life. So many intriguing stories pop up in the book that the actual creation of the blacklist takes a backseat.

I have one recommendation and one warning to those readers about to attempt the book. In the case of the former, if you're not very familiar with this time period, read a background history of the Red Scare first. Doing so will assist you in learning the context for what happens here and help you learn the basics about a few of the groups and personalities associated with the blacklist. In the case of the latter, the topic is so huge that Radosh doesn't have the space to cover many of the important Reds. There is almost nothing here about Lillian Hellman or Dashiell Hammett, for example, and both of those individuals had a lot to do with the influence of communism in film and books. Nevertheless, this book is well worth your time. Read it and remember it the next time Hollywood releases yet another "we were innocent" propaganda piece.
47 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Printing the Facts, not the Legend 29 mai 2005
Par Henry D. Fetter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Ron and Allis Radosh have performed a public service by reversing John Ford's maxim (which they quote in their book) and printing the facts, not regurgitating the legend, about one of the most mythologized episodes in recent American history. Their book places the era of the Hollywood 10 and the blacklist within the context of radical political activity in the movie industry from the 1930s to the present day, and deftly punctures the mantle of innocence and virtue that the Hollywood Left has cloaked itself in ever since. By exploring how Hollywood's Communist activists made themselves easy prey for congressional investigators by their fidelity to every twist and turn in the Communist Party line and by embracing a culture of secrecy and concealment that undermined any genuine coalition with non-Communist liberals, the Radoshes have presented a sharply drawn, but unpolemical, account of the more complicated reality. Drawing on an abundance of fascinating new source material, the authors have shed new light on such topics as the origins of Communism in Hollywood, the tragedy of John Garfield, and the evolution of Communist screenwriter Dalton Trumbo's retrospective thinking about the blacklist and its victims (the last would certainly make for a better play than Trumbo's son's "Trumbo for (Useful) Idiots" cartoon version!). This extremely well-written book makes an indispensable contribution to the ongoing debate about a perenially controversial subject.
42 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Is it a witch-hunt if the witches are real? 13 mars 2006
Par Andrew S. Rogers - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
While George Clooney was simultaneously thumping his chest and patting his back for how he and his "community" are proudly out of touch with mainstream America, I was engaged in the rather more edifying exercise of reading this great new book by Ronald and Allis Radosh. For readers with an interest in the context of the culture-clash between the "Hollywood elite" and the poor benighted people who buy movie tickets and DVDs, this book is an excellent resource.

I say the "context" of the clash because this is a look at history, and a serious research work too. This is not a book that details the fashionable Leftist obsessions of Clooney, Streisand, Penn, and the rest, and therefore may be less satisfying to some readers than other recent books that address current names and controversies more directly. Instead, "Red Star Over Hollywood" digs deep into something far more serious and sinister ("sinister" comes from the Latin word for "left," by the way): the film colony's infiltration by agents of the Comintern, dedicated partisans of Stalin, and other actors, directors, writers, and executives eager to use the power of film to promote socialism in the United States.

As Clooney's speech -- and even more so, his movie -- make clear, modern Hollywood's sense of itself is built to a large degree on the legend of its heroic stand against "McCarthyism" and the blacklist (that's what makes Clooney's self-congratulation so laughable -- does anyone in Hollywood *defend* McCarthy?). But the Radoshes demonstrate not only that there really were communists in positions of influence (in other words, the witch-hunt turned up real witches), but that there was also a strong and active anti-communist Left in Hollywood. Even more than the relatively small number of conservatives in Hollywood, it was this anti-communist Left that was in the most direct conflict with the Stalinists, their apologists, and their dupes, particularly before and during World War II.

All of this is important information, but it's when they turn to their discussion of HUAC and the blacklist in the postwar period that the authors most directly confront Hollywood's defining myth. Far from the usual pop-psychology analysis of the deranged and sweaty McCarthy (and why do so few people seem to notice that *Senator* Joe McCarthy had nothing to do with the *House* Committee on Un-American Activities?) the authors have gone in-depth in committee records, and also into the backgrounds of the people from Hollywood who came before the committee. It's certainly easier to issue blanket denunciations of McCarthy and his ilk than to sift through pages and pages of dusty documents. Ronald and Allis Radosh are to be commended for doing the latter.

It's because this book is so heavily researched -- so filled with names, dates, and places -- that I note again that it may not be to everyone's taste. It is, I repeat, a work of history. It notably lacks the rhetorical sledgehammer blows of, say, an Ann Coulter book, and so doesn't have the fist-pumping, take-that-you-commie excitement value some readers derive from more polemical works. But those books seem to disappear as soon as they fall off the bestseller lists. This, on the other hand, is a book that deserves to be around for a long, long time.
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