We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“We should recognize the issue of communism and Soviet espionage has become an antiquarian backwater. After all, the Cold War is over.” With these words, a typical leftish US historian, Ellen Schrecker, recommends that a whole sector of an historical era should be ignored and work on it effectively closed down. “It is time to move on,” remarks another academic, using the modern terminology that neither denies nor accepts responsibility, but leaves a mess behind for someone else to clear up. Now historians are, by definition, paddlers up backwaters, investigators of things that are “over” and move in, not move on when invited to examine data never before available. When World War Two ended historians started, not stopped, writing about it, just as an unending stream of books about Napoleon has continued in the nearly two centuries since he was bundled off to St Helena. The idea that, just as enormous quantities of material from Soviet and other archives are being released, work on them should be called off is so ludicrous that it could only have been suggested by those who feel the foundations of their beliefs and attitudes crumbling beneath their feet.

Findlay Dunachie, reviewing a book called In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage for Samizdata, in 2004. I came across that while trying to find something else, and was immediately hooked. Findlay Dunachie is sorely missed, now, still.

The good news is that, following the recent Samizdata makeover, we can now peruse the entire Samizdata Findlay Dunachie author archive.

35 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Agreed Brian, Findlay was a treasure.

  • JohnB

    Or they are worried their, or their friends’, own involvement in it all might not bear scrutiny?

  • RRS

    Thank you so much Brian.

    But now, how about a tutorial on how we “lurkers” can access the “Archives?”

    Clicking in “Archive” in the top tabs yields the ominous “Forbidden.”

    Those reviews for Bernard Lewis and Berlin are worth the price of patience; so, guide us please. Or, if preferable, you can access my Email via PdeH at the Castle Sam.

  • Paul Marks

    JohnB – yes.

    As for the war being “over” – in reality they have just changed the names (they do from time to time).

    Not Marxism – but “critical theory”, not scientific socialism – but “social justice”.

    The objective remains the same – the undermining of civil society and the establishment of collectivism ruled by an “enlightened” elite (that has been their objective of such people since at least the time of Plato – the young Karl Marx signed on to the collectivst objective long before he produced any of the “science” to justify it).

    And the tactics remain the same.



    And on and on…..

    If the war is “over” what is someone whose mentor was Frank Marshall Davis (along with a whole series of other Communists) doing as President of the United States?

    Unless they mean…..

    “It is over – we won”.

  • RRS, the specific archives Brian mentions are linked under the mention itself – this is the link: http://www.samizdata.net/author/findlay/

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    You can access each author archive by name, by clicking on the Author name in the permanent left hand column of this blog, in the list under the word Author.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I wish I had met him. What a superb essayist he was.

  • RRS

    Thank you again Brian.

    But, what is the “Archive” tab at the masthead for?

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)


    Don’t know. I think you are right. I also get an error message. I think Perry should look at that. It should go somewhere meaningful. It does not.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    Re Findlay Dunachie, see also this.

  • admin

    RRS: Sorry about that, my fault. I was recently asked to shuffle some photos about and created a directory called “archive” to stash them in, not realising that doing so would cause wordpress to burp thusly.

    Has now been resolved.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Drs. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr are probably THE foremost students of and writers on 20th-century Communist subversion of America by the Soviets. See the list of their collaborative works at Amazon.

    At least three of their books contain many documents from KGB and American intelligence files; they’re almost more like sourcebooks than anything else. Unfortunately, many of the documents are heavily redacted. The three are Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America; The Soviet World of .American Communism; The Secret World of American Communism.

    Their latest book, written with Alexander Vassiliev, is entitled Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America. It received an unfavorable review by Amy Knight in The [N.Y.] Times Literary Supplement, to which Dr. Haynes responded with some asperity at http://www.johnearlhaynes.org/page73.html.

    Also, Mr. Klehr has written works alone or with other collaborators. In particular, see The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism, by Mr. Klehr and Prof. Ron Radosh, which was groundbreaking when it came out. (Dr. Haynes and Prof. Radosh are I think still of the opinion that McCarthy was more of a hindrance than a help to the cause of anti-Communism and that while he may have been correct in many or most of his allegations, they were all old news by the time he made them. On defense, see M. Stanton Evans’ Blacklisted by History, and the 1999 book by Arthur Herman entitled Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America’s Most Hated Senator.)

    There are some informative reviews of Amerasia by readers at Amazon.

    As far as I know, the definitive account of the activities of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg remains The Rosenberg File: A search for the Truth, by Ron Radosh and Joyce Milton. The book was published in 1983, and a second edition with some new material came out in 1997.

    The KGB archives were opened to Western researchers, briefly, in the ’90’s. Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vasiliev took the opportunity to do research there which resulted in their 2000 book The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America – The Stalin Era. Mr. Weinstein had already published, in 1997, his book Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case; I see that a new edition of that is to be released next month, on 4/15.

    And of course, in a way the granddaddy of them all is Whittaker Chambers’ Witness.

    . . .

    John Earl Haynes has a webpage with links to his writings at http://johnearlhaynes.org/.

    Dr. Harvey Klehr is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of politics and history at Emory University.

    Jamie Glazov of FrontPageMagazine conducted a print interview with them in 2003. You can read it at George Mason University’s HNN (History News Network), among other places: http://hnn.us/articles/1832.html.

    I believe I saw a speech or interview with Dr. Haynes on YouTube, or perhaps C-Span. I leave it to those who are interested to do a YouTube search, as for some reason my attempt just now caused Firefox to crash. Fortunately (at least from my point of view!) this posting was not lost. :>)

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)


    Excellent. Thanks from me, and (I’m guessing) thanks from him, i.e. RRS.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “Awaiting moderation”!!!! And here I’m the one who said I couldn’t imagine including more than three links. Well–coises, foiled again!! 🙁 😉

  • veryretired

    Of course they want to “move on”. Any serious, sophisticated, comprehensive analysis of the soviet archives will show, as the various preliminary surveys have already indicated, that the entire enterprise was a lie, and that it’s critics in the west were not only correct, but in fact underestimated the barbarity and corruption of that gruesome collectivist experiment.

    The profession of historian has been one of the most thoroughly captured by the collectivist elements in academia, as evidenced by several of their recent meetings, standards, and the emphases in their course selections.

    The myth of collectivism as an effective alternative to the chaos and social messiness of free markets is based on the misrepresentation of both sides of the story.

    If you’ve managed to inculcate the impression of the free market as cruel and unjust, while also teaching relentlessly that it was the intervention of the state that repeatedly saved the country from the evil, selfish capitalists, it is necessary that any re-interpretation of either social and economic system be met with outrage and derision.

    This has already happened in the case of various authors who have questioned the conventional wisdom regarding the industrial revolution, and the specific case of the Great Depression.

    Hard questions are being asked about the assertions of collectivist historians who repeatedly claimed the government was uninvolved in the crash, or that the activism of the statist regime that was elected in 1932 eventually rescued the economy from disaster.

    Coincidentally, the analyses of the soviet regimes as being forward looking or largely successful in modernizing the country, and especially the records regarding the period of WW2, and then the cold war, are deadly dangerous to the mythology of the collectivist historian if and when they show that the critics of the regimes were not only correct, but mild in comparison to the reality of these periods.

    When your entire mental and moral structure, not to mention your academic career, is based on a series of lies, and somebody finds a box in the attic that has the true records, it is not hard to understand the anxiety of the modern collectivist academic that the box be resealed, put back, and ignored.

    As one of my favorite characters always said, “The truth is out there.”

  • Paul Marks

    Veryretired – quite so.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    Julie near Chicago

    In the days of Classic Samizdata, I used to have godlike editorial powers, and could have published your long and informative comment at once. Now, I have less power, and this is probably very wise. I’ll see what I can do.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    And it seems I can still approve comments, on my own postings. I can’t meddle with any other postings, but comments on my own postings I can still decide about.

    And your comment is now up and running.

  • Paul Marks

    Julie – how dare you use facts against the “Progressive” elite.

    We have “moved on” from facts.

    Indeed (from the “Pragmatists” onwards) it has been proved that objective truth does not exist (objectively proved?).

    So, for example, the Progressive A.C. Grayling can write (in this week’s Spectator magazine) that it is atheists who are the target for persectution round the world particularly in “Muslim majority countries” and pretend that Christians are not persecuted – that Christians just complain about “lack of automatic respect” (silly me – I thouht they were being killed in various places).

    Still all that matters is the United Nations declaration on human rights (written by Harold Laski, E.H. Carr – and other such types) and modern welfare “rights of the child” in the new Heaven On Earth that that the Progressives will create.

  • veryretired

    Oh, how I long for those days when you had god-like powers. I used to light a candle to your eminence and then go play bingo.

    Bingo, bingo, hause hause…

  • Julie near Chicago

    Brian, thanks for trying. In an any case, “A.G.” as my teenager used to say (awhile back that was *sigh*)–“All Good.” :>))

    Paul, the UN wouldn’t know a Human Right if it bit them in the netherlands.

    Anyway, “Never let the facts stand in the way of a good theory.” C’mon, you’ ve been to college!

    . . .

    At least two videos featuring Drs. Haynes and Klehr on YouTube:
    Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America. 1:04. Library of Congress.
    Harvey Klehr on McCarthy and American Communism. 48:50. Emory Univ.

    There may be more good stuff farther down the page. Also, the search for Harvey Klehr turns up at least one more presentation by him:
    New Sources: Early Cold War Soviet Espionage Records. 1:03. Emory Univ.

    There’s also a 2-minute clip entitled “Facts Do Matter” from a doings at Emory, and more possibles farther down.

    Suggest searching on C-Span also.

    . . .

    By the way, don’t miss Dr. Haynes’ article “The Historiography of Soviet Espionage and American Communism,” linked at his webpage, where he discusses the subject literature in some depth.

    . . .

    Two other books for students of Soviet Communism: The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin–the latter having been employed in the reference division of the KGB, who got into the habit of sneaking documents out overnight to copy (if I remember right), and then putting them back. Eventually he defected to Britain (IIRC) with the documents. Some say the “Mitrokhin Archive” isn’t really all that valuable. Maybe, but I have it anyway, and its companion volume, The World Was Going Our Way, “Our” in this case being the KGB.

    Speaking of which, does anyone have an opinion on the defector Sudoplatov? Trevor Loudon rather relies on him in spots.

    The other book I was was thinking of is Alan Bullock’s HUGE thick book Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. But at that point we should add Robert Conquest’s examinations of Stalin and Soviet Russia….

    . . .

    Another very good author is the political scientist Paul Hollander, auther of Discontents, Anti-Americanism, Political Pilgrims [about the likes of Lincoln Steffens, the Webbs, Sartre on the one hand, and Malcolm Muggeridge and Camus on te other: Why did some see, or claim to see, Heaven on Earth in Russia, while others came home without their blinders? Then later on he talks about how it was still going on (at the time of writing), with pilgrimages to China, then Cuba, then Nicaragua…always the same story, just different people and places], and several other books. One warning: His last two or three books have been shockinglly badly edited.

    His book The End of Commitment is absolutely not to be missed. Why are some able to break free from the Communist enchantment while others never can–even when, like Eric Hobsbawm, they come to see how wrong they were about it. Christopher Hitchens…Chambers…it’s a fascinating book. See, for instance, the review “The Truth Breaks Through” by Pieter Uys in Johannesburg (the Net is amazing!), third down on the page of Amazon’s readers’ reviews.

    And, of course, there is David Horowitz’s lengthy and fascinating description of his journey out of Darkness in his autobiographical Radical Son.

    Here endeth today’s book tour … I think. –Oh, there’s another Haynes-Klehr interview by Jamie Glazov from 2009. Linked in Dr. Haynes’ webpage above.

  • Julie near Chicago

    But, but, but–I only have THREE links–I was very careful–I counted them–several times–1,2,3,many–I never got to “many”! It’s true I didn’t take my socks off, but…. 🙁

  • RRS


    NO complaints! I am grateful for the experience of the exchanges (and now Archives) of this site. Thank you (as they say at PBS – U S.)

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Paul, f*ct is a four-letter word, so be careful how you use it!

  • admin

    Julie: After a request from Perry I have – as a trial – set wordpress to moderate any comments mentioning “youtube.com”, as an experimental measure. He called me recently re: his concerns about people embedding videos into comments.

    And, as ever, you push the envelope almost immediately. 🙂

    Do please ping him with your feedback; this moderation-tuning is an organic, ongoing process.

    In the meantime I have approved your comment.

  • Paul Marks

    Julie – no doubt I have fallen for one of Grayling’s traps – tell lies in order to get Christians and atheists fighting (so that the collectivist agenda can proceed without united opposition). However, his twisting and deceit just angered me.

    As for the United Nations – of course it knows what a right is. A right is a nice thing (a good or serivce) that comes from government – hence “rights of the child” and as on. How could anyone be offended by this? And then the do their little half smile as they finish their sneering words.

    After all they are not Communists – they are “Progressives”.

    The spelling is quite different.

  • I say keep them coming, Julie. Let’s swamp them with f*cts, until they bite them in the netherlands.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I’m glad to see Mr Marks using the capital P for Progressive, like the word conservative, it has become almost the Orwellian opposite of the movement it is used to describe.

  • JohnB

    Yes, you are right, veryretired.
    The realities that have been exposed, and the realisations those realities occasion, negate the deceitful metacontext that is necessary for that which the liars are seeking (and succeeding) to establish.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thanks, Admin. I am pinging Perry presently, as per your prayer.

    Prayer??? — Well, perhaps I overstate the case slightly….:)

    Actually, I have no particular passion on this issue, for a change. :>))

  • Julie near Chicago

    Paul–Very insightful of you to point out the difference in spelling. Helps in avoiding confusion. One does not want to mix two things up just because they come to the same thing in the end. After all, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and a turkey is still a turkey. 🙂

  • Rich Rostrom

    They want to “move on”. Right.

    The USSR fell, Communism is dead. Nothing to see there. Except all the still-active Communists in the world (the Cuban regime, for instance, and the Workers World Party), and the many admirers and sympathizers of them (the staff of the powerful Service Employers International Union in the U.S. associate quite openly with Communist groups). And the prominent journalists and academics advocating the same goals. And the millions who fetishize the Communist murderer Guevara. And the horde of militants promoting the same ideas who seem to be free to break laws at will (the so-called “Occupy” movement.

    Now let us consider the Left’s concern with “racism”. The Confederacy was suppressed 148 years ago; Nazi Germany was crushed 68 years ago; “Jim Crow” was overturned 49 years ago; apartheid South Africa surrendered 19 years ago.

    Yet “racism” remains the most prominent concern of the Left, and they constantly probe for it and claim to find it behind every conservative manifestation. Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review, recently issued a long screed claiming that American conservatives are followers of John Calhoun (dead for 163 years) – a pointless exercise, except that Calhoun was a notorious racist and defender of slavery.

    This is blatant intellectual dishonesty – but it is only what is to be expected from Left intellectuals.

  • guest

    Speaking of Soviets and useful idiots, there’s a must see
    lecture on ideological subversion by a former KGB agent:


    “The main emphasis of the KGB is NOT in the area of intelligence at all, only about 15% of time, money, and manpower is spent on espionage as such. The other 85% is a slow process we call either ideological subversion, active measures.

    What it basically means is: to change the perception of reality of every American that despite of the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions. That process is legitimate and open, you can see it with your own eyes”

  • Paul Marks

    Runsie B.

    I believe that J.P. wrote an article on this site pointing out that, if one took a literal meaning of the word “progressive”, then the “Progressive” political movement was the exact opposite of progressive (they were throw backs to the idea of the all might state).

    I must confess that the idea had never occured to me – but he had a point.

  • lucklucky

    You can see this present everyday in Journalism. 99% of them are absolutely disinterested about anything related to Cold War.