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The Life and Lies of Paul Crouch

Communist, Opportunist, Cold War Snitch

Gregory S. Taylor

Publication Year: 2014

Paul Crouch (1903–1955) was the quintessential anticommunist paid government informer. A naïve, ill-educated recruit who found a family, a livelihood, and a larger romantic cause in the Communist Party, he spent more than fifteen years organizing American workers, meeting with Soviet leaders, and trying to infiltrate the U.S. military with Communist soldiers.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright Page

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List of Figures

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Acknowledgments

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This book was made possible by the support and assistance of any number of individuals. If I failed to thank you at the time, I hope this acknowledgment makes up for my oversight. My entire family has been supportive of my academic and intellectual...

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Introduction: The Most Dangerous Man in America

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pp. 1-11

American history is full of ideologues. Indeed, the nation was created, in part, by men and women who were true believers in their cause and the righteousness of it. But true believers also can be dangerous, especially when they see the world only in black and white. Such a Manichean perspective...

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1. Childhood and Youth, 1903–1924

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pp. 12-21

Wilkes County is a quiet community in northwestern North Carolina. Located between the Blue Ridge and Brushy mountains, and watered by the Yadkin River, it has maintained a low profile throughout its history despite being named after British radical John Wilkes. Formed in...

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2. The Hawaiian Communist League, 1924–1927

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pp. 22-45

Paul Crouch turned twenty-one in 1924 but had yet to find his calling. Failed efforts as a textile worker and journalist left him unfulfilled, rudderless, and uncertain of his place in the world. The military seemed a sound choice for such an individual, and indeed Crouch would find...

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3. “Paul Crouch, Bolshevik,” 1927–1932

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pp. 46-76

Free from prison and a true believer in Communism, Crouch accepted his party card and became a full-fledged member of the Workers (Communist) Party of America upon his release in June 1927. He would spend the next fourteen years as an active Communist organizer, deftly following...

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4. District Organizer, 1932–1937

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pp. 77-97

Healthy, educated, and reenergized, the family Crouch embarked on an eventful era, spending the years from 1932 to 1937 in Virginia, Utah, and North Carolina. Building on the ever deepening Depression, and intent on winning people to the Communist Party by fighting for the...

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5. Questioning Communism, 1938–1947

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pp. 98-114

Still enthralled by the siren song of Communism despite failure, illness, and brief moments of doubt, Crouch left his Carolina home for Alabama in 1937. The next decade would prove as challenging as any period in his life, and his faith was tested like never before. While he remained devoted...

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6. “Then Came the Conversion,” 1947–1949

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pp. 115-144

Without an ideology to which to cling, and frequently without a job to feed his family, Crouch suffered through the late 1940s. He eventually took advantage of the growing Red Scare to become an informant for the U.S. government against his former comrades in the CPUSA. He...

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7. Professional Informant, 1950–1951

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pp. 145-170

Despite the occasional hiccup and a fleeting sense by some that he was not totally to be trusted, Crouch clearly was a rising star among the ranks of former Communist informants. The ever deepening Cold War only provided him with greater opportunities, and in 1950 and 1951 he...

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8. Limelight, 1952–1953

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pp. 171-188

The death of Stalin in March 1953 and the end of the Korean War four months later in July did little to ease the Cold War. McCarthy continued on his search for domestic Communists and the nation at large remained petrified by the Soviet menace. As such, Crouch continued to be...

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9. Atomic Secrets, 1953–1954

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pp. 189-209

In 1953 and 1954 Crouch was a part of two trials that had to do with allegations of spying, or at least misconduct, by leading scientists in the Manhattan Project. The first centered on Dr. Joseph Weinberg; the second on Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. As important as these cases are...

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10. “Let Me at Him!” 1954

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pp. 210-237

In early 1954 Crouch took part in two hearings that would prove to be the end of his career. The first occurred in New Orleans and focused on the Southern Conference Education Fund (SCEF). The second was the trial of nine Communists from Philadelphia who were indicted under...

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11. “Is Paul Crouch Reliable?” 1954

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pp. 238-265

That Crouch received a great deal of negative publicity as a result of his testimony in New Orleans and Philadelphia should come as little surprise. Despite that, during the ensuing months he defended himself and gathered around him a small group of supporters. More important...

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12. “A Lonely and Despised Man,” 1955 and Beyond

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pp. 266-282

As 1955 dawned and the attacks on him continued, Crouch fought back as best as he could. Refusing to admit that he was wrong, and with his lawsuits against the Alsops and the Daily Worker dragging through the courts, he continued his public relations efforts to defend himself and...

Notes

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pp. 283-308

Bibliography

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pp. 309-316

Index

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pp. 317-326

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780813048703
E-ISBN-10: 0813048702
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813049205

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 5 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2014

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Subject Headings

  • Crouch, Paul, 1903-1955.
  • Informers -- United States -- Biography.
  • Communists -- United States -- Biography.
  • Cold War -- Biography.
  • Communism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Anti-communist movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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