Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

I can't think of any project that has been more meaningful to me than the writing of this personal story. It has been a journey of discovery, a working-through, a healing, and an opportunity for creative expression. Many people have accompanied me along the way, some contributing information, some offering writing suggestions, others lending a listening ear. I am grateful to all of you for your patience and support....

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Prologue

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pp. xiii-xvi

I begin the journey after my parents' deaths; it would have been impossible while they were living. I sit on a granite boulder overlooking the Deer Isle Thorofare in Stonington, Maine, where the Penobscot and Jericho bays meet. In this familiar spot, a hint of balsam in the air, I remember my father and mother, Herbert and Frances Rice Fuchs.
In the summer of 1972, almost two decades after the crisis, my parents purchased a summer home here, to share with their children and grandchildren. This...

Part I. Moral Dilemma

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pp. 1-2

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1. The Family Secret: Early June 1955; Washington, D.C.

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pp. 3-6

I'm not sure when I first heard the pacing overhead that evening. Did my mother call my attention to it-the insistent, even rhythm of my father's footsteps back and forth, back and forth across the length of their bedroom floor?
"Your father needs to speak to you and Peter during dinner," my mother told me as she darted down the hall to the kitchen, two full grocery bags heavy in her arms. A familiar, dull anxiety ran through me; Dad's pacing meant trouble....

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2. Paranoia

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pp. 7-10

"I don't know what will happen, and I must ask you not to discuss this with anyone."
My father's words of caution had the impact and finality of a judge's gavel cementing a verdict-topic of discussion dosed, off-limits outside this house. At first I was puzzled by the gravity of my parents' warnings, but I soon learned that, in anticipation of testimony that could lead to contempt of Congress, my parents feared for our future. Whatever we knew and revealed to someone outside our...

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3. The Subpoena

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pp. 11-14

During those difficult days after my father's revelation but before we could be sure of its consequences, my father's time was filled with the agonizing business of preparing for his probable Committee appearance. He struggled to find an attorney, finally consulting Edward Bennett Williams, a professor of criminal law at Georgetown University, considered by many to be the best trial lawyer in the country.l Dad met with American University president Hurst R. Anderson and the...

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4. The Word Is Out

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pp. 15-21

Before my father was called to testify, I had been looking forward to a quiet and leisurely summer. I loved the fact that being thirteen meant more freedom to come and go independently and for some months now my parents had allowed me, with a couple of friends, to take the MacArthur Boulevard D-4 bus along Reservoir Road, through Georgetown, downtown into the heart of Washington. We liked to hang out at the "five-and-dime," Woolworth's, where we bought cosmetics and took pictures in the instant photo booth; I can still recall the enticing scent of my...

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5. The Demand for a Public Accounting

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pp. 22-28

Monday, July 11, 1955-another scorching summer day, the perfect embodiment of Washington's reputation for insufferable July heat and humidity. This, we hoped, was to be the last day of an eleven-day heat wave; temperatures might ease, the weather bureau speculated, "on the wings of a cool air mass." As if the sultry air and high temperatures were not enough to frazzle the nerves of Washingtonians, four hundred thousand residents were stranded by a D.C. Transit strike which had tied up public transportation in the city since the first of the month....

Part II. Betrayals

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pp. 29-30

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6. Catch-22

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pp. 31-34

By Friday, July 15, the date of my father's next scheduled appearance before the Committee, the pain of the past week's events had driven me more deeply into isolation. I retreated to my bedroom for comfort. A small room with space for only a bed, a bookshelf, and a simple wooden desk, my bedroom offered a quiet refuge, a place away from the relentless drama playing out in the living room below. Alone for hours at a time, I soothed myself by sewing (a tailored gray and yellow silk sheath dress with a coat to match) and painting with oils (a portrait of my...

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7. About-face

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pp. 35-39

An urgent call summoned my father to A.V. president Hurst Anderson's office at 10 the next morning, Saturday, July 16, where an icy cold reception from the president and Chairman Fletcher awaited him. Refusing to shake hands and seething with hostility, Mr. Fletcher launched into a scorching diatribe.1
"It's clear," he said, "that you are not the sort of man we wish to have on our faculty. We've been stupid to have implied support and continued employment to a man such as yourself-a Communist, a plotter, an atheist, a subject of Moscow!"...

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8. Awaiting the Board's Decision

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pp. 40-52

Forced to request a temporary leave of absence from the university, my father found himself with time on his hands. This meant he could chauffer me around and even chaperone my social engagements. He accompanied me to one small party at The Sycamore Island Club, an informal retreat to which the Bents belonged, on a tiny island in the Potomac accessed from MacArthur Boulevard, where we swam, picnicked, and played pool. Thick, verdant trees and bushes hung over the craggy riverbank. As we dove off the rocks on this hot weekday...

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9. Public Hearing, Private Coping

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pp. 53-73

The A.U. Board of Trustees' decision sent my father into deep and "soul searing anguish." He blamed himself for the problems that resulted from his decision to respond fully to HUAC's demands. This is how he described his feelings of isolation and gloom: "All that stands between me and a long long isolation-as of a leper-from the society of my fellows is my own determination that I am a good man and [the isolation) must not happen, that staunch human love of a few friends, including students, and the very sound constructive extroversion of our children."1...

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10. Cause Célèbre: Fighting the Blacklist

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pp. 74-86

An Underwood typewriter, a large hardwood desk, two sofa beds, and paintings from my parents' past-these simple furnishings became the backdrop for my father's battle to escape the blacklist. The small basement study had once been our playroom and later served as a site for slumber parties. Now my father transformed it into a serious place of business, equipped with the tools he needed to carryon his work. His challenge was to structure unstructured days, to stay positive and focused while riding an emotional roller coaster.1...

Part III. Discovery

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pp. 87-88

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11. Breaking Away

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pp. 89-95

When, as an adult, did my journey begin? When did I emerge from the cloud of denial that housed all memories and emotions relating to those teenage years?
Certainly the early denial was encouraged by my father, who forbade-not a word easily attributable to him-but, yes, forbade any discussion of "the troubles." Once, as a senior in high school, I wrote a short piece for an English class about the night I learned my parents had been Communists. The essay was devoid of emotion; frustrated and blocked, I just couldn't get the feelings out, but my teacher...

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12. Red Diaper Babies

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pp. 96-103

By the mid-1970s I had an independent life as a single woman living in Manhattan. I had benefited from several years of psychotherapy and matured since my divorce. No longer dependent on others for my sense of self-worth, I had learned to treasure living alone and had, at last, developed an adult relationship with both my parents, particularly my mother. I enjoyed a satisfying career, deep friendships, and the rich culture New York City had to offer. ...

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13. "Fancy Naming a Baby 'Herbert"

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pp. 104-115

It took me five years to access my father's FBI file. I had read his HUAC testimony, his journal and correspondence, the American University archive files, and more than seventy-five newspaper and magazine articles about his case; I had interviewed family and friends. Still, there were unanswered questions. As my journey began, it was hard for me to reconcile my image of the thoughtful, cautious, and reflective man I knew with the younger man I was reading about, a man identified with Communism and committed to its rigid code of behavior,...

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14. Secret Cells

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pp. 116-126

It's clear that my father's primary interest, at the time he joined the Communist Party, was in the field of labor. He joined the Party at a time when it played a dominant role in the growing labor movement. Then, too, since fascism was anathema to him, he welcomed the Party's new direction, moving away from its former exclusivist position in favor of a unified front against fascism. The new policy advocated building a coalition in which Communists would work together with other progressives-liberals, as well as the once-hated Socialists, to realize the goals of...

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15. "But What about Your Mother?"

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pp. 127-139

For years I thought of the "troubles" as something that had been the result of my father's membership in the Communist Party, my father's participation in secret Communist groups in the government, and his involvement with HUAC and the FBI. Though I knew my mother had also been a member of the Party, I simply did not think of her as having been a key player in the events that led up to our crisis in 1955. Her role, as I saw it, had been as my father's loyal partner, his supporter, the person standing by him, holding down the fort....

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16. Too Close for Comfort

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pp. 140-150

When in 1996 I finally received my father's FBI file, I attacked it with an urgency I didn't anticipate, hungry for information about his experience as a Communist and his involvement in secret Communist cells while working for the u.s. Government.
The file is rife with blacked-out names. The story the file tells (an only sometimes reliable one, even without the redacted text) interrupts itself at every turn and had to be pieced together. The first time I read it, I skimmed over what was...

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17. Harry Magdoff: Larger than Life

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pp. 151-160

"Gee, Peggy," my Ann Arbor friend Ruth Bardenstein said to me one night, "for such a conventional person you certainly have an interesting background." We were on our way home from an adult Bat Mitzvah class that night, in the spring of 1991. I don't remember what, in particular, caught her attention-my involvement in the Democratic Reform movement in Manhattan amid the Black Power and anti-war crusades? my weekend at Woodstock? my family'S HUAC experience?...

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18. The FBI

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pp. 161-170

Some have claimed that the McCarthy Era might better have been named after J. Edgar Hoover, the megalomaniac director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who played a dominant role in the anti-Communist crusade from its earliest years.1 Hoover's mandate, to investigate and suppress subversive activities on the part of members of the Communist Party and others on the Left, was enhanced in the 1930s as a consequence of President Roosevelt's animosity toward the people who opposed his foreign policy; the war years saw that mandate...

Part IV. Reckoning

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pp. 171-172

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19. Naming Names

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pp. 173-184

The worst times for me, in this long journey, have been the occasions when I was confronted with the undeniable fact that my father named names. At these times, the reality of this tragic event has overwhelmed me and I've released my shame in a flood of tears. This has been worse for me than learning my parents were Communists' worse than fearing they might be without work or might go to jail, worse than being shunned in the neighborhood. I internalized my father's guilt and grief, and, to some extent, I continue to struggle with these feelings even to this day....

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20. Remembering Them

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pp. 185-194

Dad loved to be the center of attention. He was the kind of guy who charmed dinner company with limericks, puns, recitations. At those times, he was winsome and funny and had an irresistible warmth and joie de vivre.
I like to remember my father focused on one of his many pleasures. Perhaps he's playing the banjo mandolin: "Peg-o-My Heart," "Margie," "Bésame Mucho." Or maybe he's reciting Walt Whitman; he loved showing off his cache of crazy poems. This one he recited in rapid-fire fashion: "Once there was an old woman...

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21. Healing: Old Friends/New Family

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pp. 195-202

"Drive down Geddes Road again, Mom," my son, Daniel, urged, as chunks of ice from frozen branches tapped the roof of our Toyota Camry, creating a serenade of castanets. "I love that sound," Dan said.
It was March 14, 1997, the day after Michigan's second-worst ice storm in history. We were lucky, that late Friday morning, that the frozen streets had begun to thaw and, though ice-encrusted branches crashed to the ground as we passed, major roads were now passable, allowing us to complete our preparations for the...

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22. Legacy of a False Promise

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pp. 203-212

"The logic was impeccable," writes David S. Landes in The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. "[E]xperts would plan, zealots would compete in zeal, technology would tame nature, labor would make free, the benefits would accrue to all. From each according to his ability; to each according to his deserts; and eventually, to each according to his needs."1 Such was the promise of Communism at its inception in the Soviet Union in the early twentieth century; finally, it was promised, there would be an end to poverty, oppression, and exploitation.2 But along the way, in...

Notes

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pp. 213-238

Index

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pp. 239-246