Theodore H. Draper (1912–2006) was an American historian. Educated at City College, he wrote influential studies of the American Communist Party, the Cuban Revolution and the Iran-Contra Affair. Draper was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the 1990 recipient of the Herbert Feis Award from the American Historical Association.

Freedom and Its Discontents

Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, and formerly Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford, is one of our most distinguished historians. He is a past president of the Organization of American Historians and is president-elect of the American Historical Association. Foner’s books have been …

The Four-Sided War

If ever a war was misnamed, it was the Spanish-American War. The name implies that only Spain and the United States fought in the war of 1898. It suggests that Spain was the only loser and the United States the only victor. Nothing could be further from the truth. Spain, …

A Dysfunctional Family

The Russian Mensheviks have suffered a peculiar fate. While the Bolsheviks have long had books—even libraries—devoted to them, the Mensheviks have had to wait until now for a first-rate account of their work and fate. AndrÌ© Liebich, a professor of international history and politics at the Graduate Institute of International …

Sidney Hook’s Revolution

Sidney Hook started out in the world as a poor Jewish boy in Brooklyn. He was the fourth child of immigrant parents, his father from Moravia, his mother from Galicia. In the New World, his father became a tailor whose life was filled with little more than work. As a …

The Drama of Whittaker Chambers

Unlike Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers left no mystery about his political beliefs. He was not a systematic thinker, but he was a man of ideas. Without his ideas, he was merely an informer who soon would have been forgotten. Chambers’s ideas lay at the root of his actions, and both …

The Case of Cases

The Hiss-Chambers case was the cause célèbre a half century ago. Now two books have appeared that bring it once more to our attention. A young biographer has spent seven years on a 638-page book going over the ground of Whittaker Chambers’s own autobiography, Witness. A historian has put out …

Is the CIA Necessary?

Of all the organizations that miss having the Soviet Union as an enemy, the CIA has undoubtedly been hit the hardest. The reason is that the CIA was specifically established in 1947 to struggle with the Soviet enemy. Whatever sins the CIA was later guilty of, they could always be …

Our Man in Moscow

John Barron’s book is an account of one of the most remarkable spy cases of the second half of the twentieth century. We have been accustomed to pro-Soviet spies, from Kim-Philby to Aldrich Ames. Here are anti-Soviet spies whose story is in some ways even more astonishing and of longer …

Rise & Fall of a Revolutionary

Isaac Deutscher’s three volumes on the life of Trotsky were entitled The Prophet Armed, The Prophet Disarmed, and The Prophet Outcast. To Deutscher, whose last volume appeared thirty-three years ago, Trotsky was still a “prophet.” To Dmitri Volkogonov, his latest biographer, Trotsky was no prophet, and, in fact, Volkogonov suggests …

An Anti-Intellectual Intellectual

Irving Kristol belongs to a remarkable generation which came of age in the City College of New York just before the Second World War. Among his friends at the time were Daniel Bell, Irving Howe, a somewhat younger Nathan Glazer, and others who have made careers of distinction and influence.

The Abuse of McNamara

The vitriolic and protracted campaign in The New York Times against former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and his new book, In Retrospect, is largely based on a false premise, one that can be best demonstrated by The New York Times of over twenty years ago. On April 12, …

McNamara’s Peace

Former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara has written a “Now It Can Be Told” book about the Vietnam War. He does not tell us all we need to know about the war; he has little to say about the battles on the ground and the local situation in South …

The Penitent Sinner

Robert McFarlane is a repentant sinner. His book tells how he sinned and tried to repent. One wants to sympathize with him, but he presents some peculiar problems. He did not sin as much as he thought he did, and he repented mainly for what others should have repented. His …

Mission Impossible

America’s Mission is a book with a mission. Its aim, for most of its pages, is nothing less than to overthrow the hitherto dominant theory dealing with American foreign affairs and to put in its place a different one. The old theory is said to be “realism”; the new one, …

Nixon Redivivus

In 1974, Richard Nixon became the first president to resign from office to avoid being impeached. In 1994, after his death, he was apotheosized as if he had been one of the greatest of American presidents. What accounts for such an extraordinary transformation? It was not the first time that …

Walsh’s Last Stand

The confusion with which Lawrence E. Walsh’s final Iran-contra report was received was strikingly reflected in The New York Times of January 19, 1994. A news report by David Johnston emphasized that the report “presented few fresh facts,” and that Walsh had “persevered on a trail that seemed to be …

The Life of the Party

In 1930, soon after the onset of the Great Depression, I entered the College of the City of New York, better known as City College or CCNY. I was eighteen years old. I felt as if I had left a Brooklyn village—the neighborhood in which I grew up—and gone to …

Iran-Contra: The Mystery Solved

Like Secretary of State George Shultz, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger strongly opposed the policy of trading arms for hostages when that policy came up for discussion on December 7, 1985, and January 7, 1986. Afterward, however, Weinberger took a different path. As in the case of Shultz, but in …

The Iran-Contra Secrets

The Iran-contra affairs refuse to go away. New information forces us to revisit them again and again. In the recent past, five new sources stand out—a book, Turmoil and Triumph, by former Secretary of State George Shultz; another book, Undue Process, by former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams; the …

The End of Czechoslovakia

The Velvet Revolution and those who received most credit for it were almost too successful for their own good. The Civic Forum among the Czechs and the Public Against Violence among the Slovaks emerged from the ordeal of November–December 1989 with unrivaled prestige and honor. It did not seem to …

A New History of the Velvet Revolution

Czechoslovakia is not just another little country in Eastern Europe. It differs from all the others in at least one critical respect. It is the only country between Germany and the former Soviet Union that has had an authentic democratic past. From 1918 to 1938, it was a thriving, free …

Who Killed Soviet Communism?

The mystery of Soviet communism is why it came to such an unexpected end. For such an all-embracing system to die, almost everyone expected that it would have to be killed. Instead, it collapsed, as if a house had fallen in on itself. Its old ruling bureaucracies have largely escaped …