Robert Service is one of our great historians of Communism and the publication of A Dictionary of 20th-Century Communism, which he co-edited with Silvio Pons, is another fine achievement. Its 900-plus pages have entries on everything from “Atheism, Soviet” to “Zionism.” Today, Service is my NRO podcast victim.
I’ve looked through the book but haven’t studied it thoroughly. John Earl Haynes wrote the entry for “Spies,” which shows that the co-editors have no qualms about showcasing the work of conservatives–Haynes and his frequent collaborator Harvey Klehr have done more to expose the reality of Soviet espionage in the United States than anybody else. (I’ve profiled them for NR.)
Sadly, the entry on “McCarthyism” is authored by Ellen Schrecker, a historian who has a soft spot for American Communists. Haynes and Klehr quote Schrecker in their book In Denial: “I do not think that I conceal my sympathy for many of the men and women who suffered during the McCarthy era nor my agreement with much (though not all) of their political agenda.” That’s quite a statement–and Schrecker has devoted her academic career to attacking the anti-anti-Communists.
Even so, The Dictionary of 20th-Century Communism will sit on my shelf for a long time.
Next week’s podcast: Niccolo Capponi on Machiavelli.