Being Red CL

Howard Fast, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-395-55130-1
Fast, still astonishingly prolific and frequently bestselling at 75, was catapulted to early fame by such books as Freedom Road and Citizen Tom Paine . He joined the Communist Party in 1944, at the height of U.S.-Soviet wartime amity, and in the ensuing Cold War paranoia found his life torn apart. Though hailed overseas as a successful writer who stood against McCarthyite hysteria, his name and books became anathema at home. Here he tells the remarkable story of how, when all the major U.S. publishers backed away from his Spartacus , he brought it out himself, with only a small, courageous order from the Doubleday chain--to see it eventually become a multimillion-copy seller and a celebrated movie. Fast does not regret his 13 years of party membership, and in that is refreshingly different from the many who later sourly recanted. Critical of party leadership, dogmatism and its unswerving idealization of the Soviet Union, he nevertheless argues convincingly that most American members were compassionate people who cared deeply for their country while deploring its racism and dog-eat-dog ethics; the idea that they could be, or wanted to be, a threat to national security is ludicrous to him. Fast describes this passage in his life like the master storyteller he is, and his insights into the failure of American communism make his book valuable as well as highly entertaining. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
Paperback - 978-0-440-50412-2
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-1-56324-499-5
Open Ebook - 370 pages - 978-1-317-47605-4
Ebook - 387 pages - 978-1-315-70617-7
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