32 / CHRONICLESnmeliorist, and anticommunist. By discreditingnthis popular and well-knownnliberal activist, Cummings intends tondestroy any residual faith in the prospectsnfor nonrevolutionary change.nLiberalism, he insists, must makenroom for “radicalism,” a political ideologynthat includes, but is not restrictednto, communism.nAlthough Lowenstein was not thenmost illustrious liberal of his time, henwas certainly the most ubiquitous. Asnleader of the National Student Association,na civil rights organizer, antiwarnactivist, and one-term congressmannfrom New York, he was an indefatigablencampaigner for such cherished liberalnideals as peace and justice, both atnhome and around the world. Henachieved his greatest celebrity when henorchestrated the successful “DumpnJohnson” movement prior to the 1968nDemocratic National Convention.nWidely respected within and outside ofnthe liberal community, he was anninviting target. In order to expose liberalismnas a sham, Cummings knewnthat he would have to smash its iconsnand make its most trusted spokesmennappear to be “inauthentic.”nCummings’ principle charge is thatnLowenstein was a secret CIA operativenfrom 1962 to 1967 and that he alwaysnshared the liberal anticommunist objectivesnof the “good wing” of thenBOOKS IN BRIEF—COUNTRYnagency. Accordingly, he advocatedntimely reform in the United States, asnwell as in such potential trouble spotsnas South Africa and Franco’s Spain, innorder to defuse the explosive materialncontained in more radical — oftenncommunist—movements. In thisnway, he was able to establish a reputationnas a progressive while at the samentime sabotaging the only forces thatnCummings recognizes as legitimate,nthose that reject “the system” in itsntotality. Just so, we are encouraged tonbelieve, all liberals are traitors to thennoble cause of radical change, naivendupes, if not active collaborators, ofnAmerican Intelligence. In Cummings’nexcitable imagination, the CIA directsna sinister and international conspiracynthat perpetuates U.S. domination ofnthe world. Under every bed, he sees anCIA agent—where there should be angood communist.nNothing in Cummings’ indictmentnis likely to occasion undue alarmnamong reasonable people. But thesensame people may be disturbed by whatnhe counts as evidence, particularly innview of his outspoken opposition tonMcCarthyism and all its works andnways. Lowenstein, he states categorically,njoined the CIA in 1962; thisnaccording to “sources.” Turning to thennotes, we learn that “one of thesensources served with U.S. Army Intelli-nBluegrass: A History by Neil V. Rosenberg, Champaign, IL; University of Illinois Press;n$24.95. An obviously definitive history of bluegrass by an amateur musician and professor ofnfolklore, Rosenberg’s useful book shares some of the failings of the genre itself—an elegantnprofessionalism that increasingly misses the point of why people play and listen tondown-home music. Still, Bluegrass will probably remain the standard history for thenforseeable future.nJust Folks: Visitin’ With Carolina People by Jerry Bledsoe, Charlotte, North Carolina: EastnWoods Press; $9.95. Carolina Curiosities by Jerry Bledsoe, Charlotte: East Woods Press;n$7.95. The Tarheel State’s number one booster spins yarns and explores the backroads ofnNorth Carolina in these two volumes of columns and vignettes. Anyone who has evernvacationed in North Carolina will want to refresh his memory by hearing the tales of thennewspaperman Bledsoe, whom Charles Kuralt describes as “Carolina’s Listener Laureate.”nCountry Music U.S.A. by Bill C. Malone, Austin: University of Texas Press. Bill Malone’snclassic history of country music is back in print in a revised and enlarged edition. They’re allnhere—from Uncle Dave Macon and Jimmie Rodgers to Ricky Skaggs and Emmylou Harris,nconcluding with the timely admonition: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the wholenworld and loses his own soul?”nThe Devil Went Down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels, Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers;n$12.95. Chronicles once described Charlie Daniels as a national treasure. While these storiesndo not succeed as well as some of the songs that inspired them, Charlie’s fundamentalndecency and good humor come through enough to make his simple tales more readable thannmost of what is passed off as short fiction.nnngence. The others, also with backgroundsnin intelligence work, are closento the CIA.” Not impressed? Neither,napparently, was Victor Marchetti, andisgruntled former CIA agent whononce opined that the U.S. governmentnis “intent upon imitating the methodsnof totalitarian regimes in order tonmaintain its already inordinate powernover the American people.” This impeachablensource advised Cummingsnto “stick with the circumstantial evidence.nWhat matters is the close associationnand cooperation.”nBut to characterize the evidencenthat Cummings presents as circumstantialnis to be charitable indeed. Itncomes to this: Lowenstein loved hisncountry and understood the nature ofncommunist ambitions. So did agentsnof the CIA, or at least some of them.nErgo? In a lame effort to buttress hisncase, Cummings notes that Lowensteinntraveled a good bit on a relativelynsmall income. Yet he himself pointsnout that there was a great deal ofnmoney in the Lowenstein family andnthat Al Lowenstein, who was verynfrugal, counted many friends uponnwhom he was wont to call for freenroom and board. A colleague of minenwho knew Lowenstein well assures menthat this was indeed the way in whichnthe man operated. In the final analysis,nthen, Cummings’ brief against Lowensteinnis invertebrate, and he knowsnit. “Lowenstein’s exact relationshipnwith the CIA is vague,” he concedes,n”as it no doubt was meant to be, and asnit was with many of their people.” Ornas Tailgunner Joe once explained to anskeptical Richard Rovere, the absencenof evidence only serves to demonstratenhow clever the communists are.nCummings’ handling of evidence—nor rather lack of it—is even morensurrealistic in his handling of his second,nand complementary, charge: thatnLowenstein was a homosexual. Notnthat that is so bad, mind you; like allnadvanced thinkers, Cummings is alwaysncareful to speak of “sexual preferences.”nWhat seems to annoy him isnLowenstein’s refusal to come out ofnthe closet. It seems that the liberalnspook always practiced his vice (preference)nunder cover. There was, for example,nthe seemingly innocent wrestlingnmatches with some of his youngnfriends. And the smoking gun: Lowensteinnwent to bed with one of his malen