degenerated, along with the level of therneulture at large. Compared to Horowitz,rnGitlow—the fanatic avenger and consummaternopportunist—is a veritablerngiant. While Horowitz was always arnperipheral figure on the left, with no statusrnas an activist beyond the Berkeleyrnscene, Gitlow was one of the foundingrnleaders of the American CommunistrnParty, whose defection was front-pagernnews all across the world.rnIt was a startling turn for a man whosernentire life had been spent in the servicernof the revolutionary socialist cause. Inrn1909, Gitlow joined the Socialist Party;rnin 1917, electrified by the Bolshevikrncoup in Russia, he became a leading figurernin what was the nascent CommunistrnParty of the United States. He wasrnscooped up in the infamous PalmerrnRaids of 1919, and sent to Sing Singrnprison. Upon his release, he went on tornbecome a leader of the American (i.e.,rnEnglish-speaking) wing of the communists,rnwhich at that time was a definiternminority. Along with Jack Reed—dashingrnauthor of Ten Days That Shook thernWorld and subject of an adoring movie,rnReds—Gitlow led the fight to “Americanize”rnwhat was essentially a party ofrnimmigrants. As a top leader and organizerrnof the CP, Gitlow eventually ran afoulrnof the Comintern when his patron, partyrnleader Jay Lovestone, fell out of favorrnwith the Kremlin. On a trip to Moscowrnto appeal to Stalin himself, Gitlow andrnhis confreres stood up to the dictator onrnhis own turf, at a famous meeting of thernComintern Praesidium. At considerablernrisk to his own life and liberty, he spokernin defiance of Stalin’s order to turn thernleadership of the American Communistsrnover to a rival faction. In response, Unclern— LIBERAL ARTS —rnTHE LEOPARD ANDrnHIS SPOTSrn”Two prison inmates driving in arnstate-owned van were arrested for allegedlyrnsoliciting a prostitute, policernsaid. Both inmates had work-releasernprivileges, which allowed them to bernin public. . . . The men, ages 37 andrn41, are inmates at the St. John’s CorrectionalrnCenter on Milwaukee’s eastrnside. They were on their way to a jobplacementrninterview with a temporary-rnhelp agency.”rn—from the Beloit Daily News,rnMarch 28rnJoe himself stormed to the podium andrndenounced the American deviationist.rn”When you get back to the UnitedrnStates,” he thundered, “only your wivesrnand sweethearts will support you!”rnHorowitz, on the other hand, is ambivalentrnabout confronting the mini-rnStalin of the Panther New Left milieu,rnHuey Newton, and he continually worriedrnabout the danger to his own safety.rnTypically, when he discovers that hisrnBlack Panther heroes are murderers andrnthugs, he blames other people: “Angerrnwelled inside me. Why hadn’t Noel saidrnanything before? Why hadn’t Charles?rnOr Troy? Why hadn’t they warned me?rnThe answer was clear: they did not wantrnto be accused of betraying the Left.”rnThe Panthers had killed their accountant,rnBetty Van Patter, who had been recommendedrnfor the job by Horowitz himself,rnbut he confesses that he “was nowrnruled by the principle of silence.” AlthoughrnHorowitz knew who had killedrnVan Patter, and why, it took him years torngo public—and he never really doesrncome clean. For nowhere does he directlyrnacknowledge his own complicity in herrndeath, even though it was he who recruitedrnher for the position that was tornprove her undoing. He claims that hernand other New Left activists werern”blind” to the fact that the Panthersrnwere, as Dick Gregory put it, “a bunch ofrnthugs.” But this is not very credible:rnWhat else is one to think of a group thatrnwalks into a session of the CaliforniarnState Assembly armed with rifles andrndressed in paramilitary uniforms? HueyrnNewton urged his followers to “pick uprnthe gun.” What else did Horowitz andrnfriends expect but that, one day, theyrnwould pick it up—and use it?rnUnlike Gitlow, Chambers, et al., Horowitzrnwas not an activist but a selfstyledrntheoretician, a literary type whornheld a key post as an editor of Rampartsrnbut who deliberately avoided any organizationalrnloyalties except in running thern”Learning Center” for the Oaklandrnbranch of the Black Panthers. In spite ofrnhis best effort to inflate his own importancernto the growth of the New Leftrnmovement, Horowitz never exercisedrnany appreciable influence over its activitiesrnor direction. When Gitlow was expelledrnfrom the Communist Party in thernI930’s, along with Jay Lovestone, theyrntook several hundred members withrnthem; when Horowitz, the great NewrnLeft guru, announced his support forrnRonald Reagan, he took exactly one ofrnhis ex-comrades with him: his longtimernfriend and literary collaborator PeterrnCollier.rnOne striking difference between thernex-commie confessionals of yesteryearrnand Horowitz’s tome is stylistic; whilernGitlow is concerned with exposing therninner workings of the communist movement,rnits front groups, strategies, andrnsubterfuges, Horowitz is mainly interestedrnin self-revelation. We learn everythingrnwe never needed to know aboutrnthe messy little ups and downs of his personalrnlife: an affair with a “psychic healer”rnwho “heals” him out of his marriage;rnhis relationship with a crack-addictedrndrifter who left him suddenly after drainingrnhim of considerable sums of money;rnan affair with Abbie Rockefeller. Particularlyrnmaddening is the fact that the author,rnin detailing this Bacchanalia, keepsrnasserting his growing disenchantmentrnwith the countercultural values andrnlifestyle of his generation.rnThis genre has never been bereft ofrnsex; the focus of previous memoirists,rnhowever, was not on the sexuality of thernauthor but on the licentiousness of hisrnex-comrades. In The Whole of TheirrnLives (1948), Gitlow charged that “inrnNew York and in other communist centers,rnthe youth had built up a communistrnSodom and Gomorrah.” Describing arncommie orgy with some degree of realism,rnGitlow argued that promiscuity aidedrnin “the deadening of the mind withrncommunist ideology.” Whatever thernmerits of the argument that young commiesrnwould be too tired from these gymnasticsrnto resist indoctrination, at leastrnGitlow bothered to make a political argument.rnHorowitz, on the other hand, inrndetailing his own psychosexual peccadilloesrnat such length—while all the timernproclaiming his growing devotion to conservativernfamily values—succeeds onlyrnin proving his own hypocrisy.rnReflecting the self-absorption so typicalrnof his generation. Radical Son chroniclesrnHorowitz’s every mood swing in excruciatingrndetail. To relieve the tedium,rnthe author recalls his brushes with thernglitterati: how he hung out with somernKennedy kids as they snorted coke andrnmingled with the Hollywood crowd,rndropping plenty of names along the way.rnBut the star of this show is the author. Inrna prologue that reads like a marketingrnstrategy, the tirelessly self-promotingrnHorowitz declares, “I was like WhittakerrnChambers in their generation—a youngrnman, inspired by the high-minded pas-rn42/CHRONICLESrnrnrn