Communism

Charles Kesler speaks

Featured image Last week we celebrated the week of Charles — Charles Kesler, Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government at Clarmeont McKenna College, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, long-time friend and tutor — for his receipt of one of this year’s Bradley Prize awards along with Allen Guelzo and Jason Riley. I have posted the video of the event below (it is posted here on Vimeo). Charles is a gentleman, scholar, »

Richard Pipes, RIP

Featured image Sad news today of the passing of Richard Pipes, the great scholar of Soviet affairs and many other subjects. He was the author of many fine books, including especially his large book The Russian Revolution, which is one of the very best accounts of that crucial event. I only met the great professor once or twice very casually, in a large group at some Washington or New York dinner that »

Waiting for a miracle

Featured image Nadezhda Mandelstam was the widow of the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam and author of the astounding memoir Hope Against Hope, originally published in 1970. It is still in print after all these years and well summarized here. Osip was first arrested and taken into custody in 1934 for having written an unpublished poem critical of Stalin. Later deposited in the Stalinist “sewage disposal system” (as Solzhenitsyn called it), Osip died »

The Generation That Knew Not Josef

Featured image Outgoing Senator Jeff Flake—an old friend from years ago before he entered electoral politics—has roiled the waters with his recent remarks that were said (not quite accurately) to have compared President Trump to Josef Stalin. This purported comparison understandably upset conservatives (and Flake was quick to correct the Tweet-fueled mischaracterization of his point), but I naturally wondered if he wasn’t onto a brilliant bit of misdirection: Everyone knows that Trump »

A Whittaker Chambers Xmas

Featured image I was reminded that a friend asked me to recommend a book about Whittaker Chambers as a Christmas gift for her smartly conservative daughter a few years ago. Chambers stands at the center of an incredible drama and four fantastic books about it. There is still much to be learned from Chambers and his case. It occurred to me that some readers might appreciate another look at these recommendations including »

Weekend reading

Featured image I want to take the liberty of drawing attention to weekend reading of special interest without commentary from me. I recommend: • Douglas Murray, “The Russian Revolution, 100 years on.” Murray looks back at what Communism wrought and decries its continuing appeal. NRO has posted Murray’s recent cover story along with sidebars by Anne Applebaum, David Pryce-Jones, Noah Rothman, Roger Scruton, and Radoslaw Sikorski assigning notable books for extra credit »

Springtime for Marx and Germany

Featured image I suppose it was inevitable, given the left’s re-enchantment with Communism, but I still found news of the 2017 film “The Young Karl Marx” jarring. The American Film Institute will be showing the movie as part of its “European Union Film Showcase” next month in Silver Spring, Maryland. Here is how the AFI describes this German/French/Belgian co-production: Following his documentary I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, Raoul Peck takes on the »

The Russian Revolution at 100

Featured image The New York Times has humiliated itself with the series of essays on the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution that it has published under the rubric of Red Century. Michelle Malkin peeked in on it here. I peeked in on it in “The Times revisits the old-time religion” and drew on the great Harvey Klehr’s contribution to the series in “The romance of Soviet stooges.” This week’s New York »

Ireland honors Che Guevara

Featured image The Irish post office, An Post, will release a stamp commemorating Che Guevara 50 years after the Cuban communist was killed while trying, with no success, to export Castro’s revolution to Bolivia. The Irish government, through its Cabinet, approved this decision. The stamp will cost 1 Euro. The Irish government seems enamored of Guevara, whose grandmother was the daughter of Irish immigrants who left for Argentina during the notorious famine. »

Boo, Hiss

Featured image Michael Walsh likes to say of the left, “They never stop; they never sleep; they never quit.” Which is why Michael advises that our constant disposition should always be: crush the left. A small but telling case in point is Alger Hiss. Is there anyone still around who thinks he wasn’t guilty of being an agent of Soviet influence, if not much worse? You’d have thought that Allen Weinstein’s Perjury »

The Lampoon Times

Featured image When did the New York Times get taken over by the National Lampoon? It happened so slowly I didn’t even notice. As has been widely noticed, the Times has been running a series of articles related to the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, and it is obvious that the Times is still sad that the whole show came to an ignominious end in the early 1990s. (After all, there »

Coming Attractions: Laughing at Communism

Featured image If you have a subscription to Amazon Prime, you owe it to yourself to take in their original production “Comrade Detective.” It is a brilliant piece of work, supposedly “found footage” of a Romanian buddy-cop show from the 1980s dubbed into English. It is a wonderful satire of the way a podunk Eastern European nation saw the world in the late stages of the Cold War. Here’s one clip: But »

The romance of Soviet stooges

Featured image Vivian Gornick is the author of the 1979 book titled The Romance of Communism. It’s a romance with which many readers of the New York Times are familiar even if the thought of it is revolting to anyone who knows the relevant history. Earlier this year in anticipation of May Day the Times turned over valuable real estate in its Sunday Review section to Gornick to celebrate the time “When »

Lessons from Hong Kong

Featured image Twenty years ago, Great Britain handed over Hong Kong, with its 6 million residents, to Red China. Keith Richburg of the Washington Post recalls the prevailing wisdom among Western reporters who covered the region at the time — acquiring Hong Kong would transform China: Beijing desperately wanted — needed — what Hong Kong had: wealth, stability, good relations with the world. What did Beijing have that Hong Kong wanted? Nothing. »

Recalling Max Eastman

Featured image I often grab an old, forgotten book to take with me on overseas trips, and for my current trip I grabbed Max Eastman’s Reflections on the Failure of Socialism. Eastman is one of those mostly forgotten figures from the first half of the 20th century who left Communism and became a conservative of a kind. Eastman had been, for a time, the editor of The Masses, and later The Liberator—both »

Speaking of turkeys

Featured image Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar begs to disagree with President Trump’s modest curtailment of Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba’s Communist regime. CNN gives Klobuchar’s column the jarring headline “Trump, we need Cuba’s business.” I don’t think Senator Klobuchar would ever address the president as “Trump.” I seriously doubt that the form of address was supplied by her for the headline. It’s just not her way. I also don’t think we »

The Times revisits the old-time religion

Featured image Vivan Gornick exudes nostalgia for The Romance of Communism, as she called her 1978 book documenting the memories of old members of the Communist Party USA. Marion Magid’s unamused review of Gornick’s book for Commentary performs an expert anatomy on a reeking carcass of a book. Anticipating May Day today, the Times turned valuable real estate in its Sunday Review section yesterday over to Gornick for a rerun of her »