Sleazy Treatments of Complex MattersnAnthony Cave Brown and Charles B.nMacDonald: On a Field of Reel; G.P.nPutnam’s Sotis; New York.nDonald Neff: Warriors at Suez: EisenhowernTakes America into the MiddlenEast; Linden Press/Simon & Schuster;nNew York.nby AlanJ. Levineno. fn a Field of Red is purportedly anmajor work on Soviet and communist intriguesnfrom 1919 to 1943; unfortunatelynit proves to be a major disappointment.nThis is particularly saddening since thenco-author, Charles B. MacDonald, is onenof America’s finest military historians.nThe book is marred by carelessness, inaccuracynand poor judgment, which arenquite uncharacteristic of MacDonald’s—nthough not of Anthony Cave Brown’s—nearlier works. The book neither suppliesnan accurate account of Soviet-directed intriguesnnor fulfills its declared aim ofntying the Comintern’s moves to WorldnWar II—something which certainlyncould have been done. Not only haventhey said nothing new, but also much ofnwhat they claim is new is not tme.nThe authors disclaim any attempt at an”formal history” of the Comintern; theynare concerned only with its “intriguesnand subversive operations” in America,nBritain and Germany and with hown”Comintern policy, in concert withnSoviet revolutionary diplomacy, contributednto the coming of World War II.”nThey argue that the Cold War begannwith the October Revolution and Alliednintervention in the Russian Civil War,nnot after World War II. There is certainlyna case to be made for this contention—butnthey do not make it. Theynclaim to be using recently declassifiednU.S. military-intelligence files, but theirnbook actually concentrates on mostlynDr. Levine is a frequent contributor tonthe Chronicles.nwell-known Soviet intelligence operations.nOne of their prime “new” sources,nthe Weinkoop manuscript, is probablynnot authentic. The authors do raise someninteresting points—for example, thensuggestion that the most effective Sovietnatomic spy, Klaus Fuchs, was actually andouble agent for the British fromn1945-1950—and their book does provokenthought. In reading their accountsnof British and American traitors, it isnstriking how peculiarly slimy andndepraved the former seem. Next tonBurgess, Maclean and Philby, Hiss, Goldnand the Rosenbergs seem almost normalnand likeable. It would be interesting tondiscover the explanation for their radicallyndiffering views and characterizations ofnthe traitors of the two English-speakingnpeoples. Unfortunately such matters arenburied in a poorly balanced work. It isnrare to encounter a book with such a lacknof proportion; far more space is devotednto the dismal tale of King Edward VIIInthan to any of the Comintern congressesnwhich laid down the general tactics of thenworld communist movement. The booknis littered with mistakes, confusion andnunsubstantiated assertions—thoughnsome of the latter could have been supportednhad the authors done their homework.nThe White Russian leader. GeneralnDenikin, is described as a “lean, hardridingnaristocrat.” Actually Denikin wasna rather roly-poly infantry officer and thenson of a serf; the authors apparently confusednhim with General Wrangel. Thennazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg isndescribed as German foreign minister;nhe never occupied that post. The authorsnwaste much space trying to extract nuggetsnof tmth from the fake or largely fakenSisson documents of 19I8, which purportedlynshowed that intimate relationsnexisted between Imperial Germany andnthe Bolsheviks. They are apparentlynunaware that genuine German ForeignnOffice documents uncovered in then1950’s amply showed the truth of suchncharges.nnnMany of their ideas about World WarnI-era Europe are distorted or bizarre. Is itntme, for example, that Europe of 1903,nincluding England, “was ruled bynmonarchs and princes” ? There is an oddntendency to see Europe as a whole, andnBritain in particular, as far more backwardnand “reactionary” than it reallynwas. An era when people and their rightsnwere far safer and more secure than theynare today is portrayed as an age ofnantediluvian absolutism. Churchill isntreated as a “tory” or “reactionary” whennhe was acmally a maverick liberal. Muchnink is spilled smearing Britain’s andnChurchill’s motives in opposing Sovietncommunism (which is particularlynstrange since the authors are obviouslynanti-Soviet). Some of the selective quotesnof Churchill’s more purple rhetoric tendnto disguise, perhaps unintentionally, thenfact that his anti-Soviet stance was basednon his understanding of what was laterncalled totalitarianism. It is absurd to suggest,nin light of recent well-documentednstudies, that British aims in North Russianwere “imperialistic.”nOuch thinking culminates in a misunderstandingnof both communism andnthe milieu in which the Comintern andnthe Soviet Union operated. The authorsninsist that the disturbances in post-nWorld War I Europe, including Britain,nwere “revolutionary.” They repeatedlynclaim that “preconditions for a successfulnworld revolution of the proletariat existed”:n”Lenin had ample reason tonbelieve that a world revolution of thenproletariat was imminent.” This is a vastnexaggeration of the influence of communismnat that time and of the importancenof disturbances that were usuallynquite minor.nIf such revolutionary potential actuallynexisted in the Western world, it is hardnto understand why the communists hadnto engage in the elaborate spy operationsnon which the authors focus. The truth ofnthe matter is that world revolution, in then^ • M H ^ ^ OnJttly/Aagustl98Sn